BUDGET FOR VACCINES. The local government of Claver in Surigao del Norte announces Wednesday (Jan. 13, 2021) its plan to purchase PHP20 million worth of vaccines against the coronavirus disease. Mayor Georgia Gokiangkee says the local government is looking at collaborating with mining companies and other donors to realize the plan. (Photograb from Municipality of Claver FB Page)

BUTUAN CITY – The Surigao del Norte town of Claver would allocate PHP20 million for coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccines.

"Other than the budget from the LGU (local government unit) funds, we are also seeking additional financial support from our stakeholders, especially the mining companies. We are fully aware that prioritizing this program will not just ease travel restrictions but will also help us revive our local economy," Mayor Georgia Gokiangkee said in a statement Wednesday.

Claver hosts some of the biggest nickel mines in the country and is considered the province's mining capital.

Gokiangkee said the purchase of the vaccines would be done through a tripartite agreement involving the national government.

“We hope that the vaccines would be available by the third quarter of this year. The LGU Claver is targeting at least 80 percent of the population to benefit from the vaccination program,” Gokiangkee said.

Last week, Surigao del Norte also Gov. Francisco Matugas announced the PHP150 million allocation for Covid-19 vaccines.

As of Tuesday, Surigao del Norte recorded a total of 793 Covid-19 positive cases since the pandemic started in March last year.

A total of 675 patients have already recovered from Covid-19 in the province, with only 54 active cases remaining as of Tuesday.

The pandemic has also claimed 64 lives in the province. (PNA)