MANILA (2nd UPDATE) – Valenzuela and Navotas cities are allocating funds to purchase COVID-19 vaccines for their residents, their mayors said Monday, adding to the list of Metro Manila cities whose local officials have made similar initiatives.
Valenzuela Mayor Rex Gatchalian said they allocated an initial P150 million for vaccines.
“Our efforts are meant to augment and supplement the initiative of the national government who will take the lead on this endeavor,” Gatchalian said.
He added the local government is just waiting for the list of approved vaccines from the Food and Drug Administration before they start with the procurement.
The city can increase its budget up to P250 million if it is allowed to realign developmental funds for COVID-19 response like last year, Gatchalian told ANC's Headstart Tuesday.
The city will prioritize healthworkers, senior citizens, and persons with comorbidities, he added.
"Nobody can stop an LGU (local government unit) to be proactive. If we can be part of the solution and we can lessen the burden on national government and they can help smaller LGUs, then why not," he said.
"Sana July, sana (I hope) middle of this year. I think 6 months down the road is a fair number to look at. I always believe haste makes waste," he added when asked when he would like the vaccination program to begin.
Meanwhile, Navotas Mayor Toby Tiangco said the city would set aside an initial P20 million for vaccines, adding that the amount may still go up depending on supplies that they could obtain from the national government.
Navotas conducted an informal survey, which found that majority of residents agreed to be vaccinated against the respiratory illness as long as their preferred vaccine was used, Tiangco said.
Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were the most preferred by Navotas residents, the local chief executive said.
Tiangco explained that the survey was conducted to ensure that his constituents would agree to be vaccinated because the local government did not want to waste its resources.
Earlier, the local governments of Manila, Quezon City, San Juan, Parañaque, and Makati said they would allocate or raise funds to acquire COVID-19 vaccines for their residents.
The Philippines has recorded 477,807 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of Sunday.
Metro Manila, home to 12 million people, remains the country's epicenter of the COVID-19 crisis.
– With a report from Raffy Santos, ABS-CBN News