Bill seeks to shield LGUs from suit over COVID-19 vaccine advance payment

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 19 2021 12:02 PM

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MANILA - A proposed measure being deliberated at the Senate will protect local government units from lawsuits over the advance payment to pharmaceutical companies for the delivery of COVID-19 vaccine, Sen. Sonny Angara said Friday.

Angara, who is sponsoring Senate Bill No. 2057 or the proposed COVID-19 Vaccination Program Act of 2021, said the Local Government Code actually prohibits payment for goods that are not yet delivered, but this measure will give an exemption.

"Dun kinakabahan ang ating local governments kasi kumontrata na sila, because alam nila urgent. Yun ang kinakatakutan, baka makasuhan sila despite their good intentions and gusto lang nilang makatulong sa kanilang mga nasasakupan," he told ANC's Headstart.

The bill keeps the setup where LGUs need to sign a tripartite agreement with the national government and drugmakers for the purchase of coronavirus vaccines. Angara said there are several advantages to this such as price discounts due to economies of scale and orderly vaccination where people are not accounted for twice.

President Rodrigo Duterte has certified the bill as urgent, allowing senators to pass it on second and third reading on the same day instead of the usual 3-day gap.

Apart from the LGU code exemption, the Vaccination Program Bill also allots P500 million as an indemnification fund to cover compensation and medical assistance to vaccine recipients who may experience adverse effects.