MEETING ON COVID-19 VACCINES. Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia (top, left) and Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas (2nd from left) with Secretary Carlito Galvez (top, right) and other city mayors during a virtual meeting on Covid-19 vaccine procurement and allocation held on Dec. 29, 2020. The League of Cities of the Philippines has committed to support the vaccination program of the national government to ensure vaccine supply for its member-cities. (Photo courtesy of Bacolod City PIO)

BACOLOD CITY – The League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP) has committed to support the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccination program of the national government in a bid to ensure vaccine supply for its member-cities.
Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia, national president of the 145-member LCP, said in a statement on Sunday the procurement and allocation of vaccines is “a matter of teamwork” between and among the national government and the local government units (LGUs).
Leonardia said vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez could discuss the concerns of the LGUs with the Government Procurement Policy Board (GPPB) “to be more realistic and more understanding about the situation.”
“The COA (Commission on Audit) and the GPPB will play a vital role here,” he added.
Leonardia last month formed the LCP Committee on Vaccine Availment for the city mayors to strategize efforts to ensure their own constituents have early access to quality and affordable vaccines.
The body is tasked to coordinate and consult with the Covid-19 National Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, Department of Health, Food and Drug Administration, Department of Budget and Management and other related agencies; carry out collective and advantageous vaccine availment by the cities; and undertake other activities related to vaccine procurement.
Leonardia, Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas, chair of the LCP Committee on Vaccine Availment, and other city mayors, discussed the plan of the cities to procure their own vaccines and the other similar concerns during a virtual meeting with Galvez held on Dec. 29.
“What we will campaign for is for more of the cities to (have) really appropriate funds of their own to help out the national government,” Treñas said.
Zamboanga City Mayor Beng Climaco, a committee member, suggested to come up with a master list of LGUs and their resources available for vaccine procurement in coordination with the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the COA.
Galvez said President Rodrigo Duterte is glad that there are city mayors volunteering to buy their own Covid-19 vaccines, and cities that have no budget will be given more allocation by the national government.
“Once we get the master list, regardless of cities, with or without funds, we will have an equitable distribution,” he added.
Galvez said the PHP1.3-billion budget allocated to the national government can procure at least 150 million vaccines this year. (PNA)