If needed, President Rodrigo Duterte will sign an executive order (EO) allowing local government units (LGUs) to purchase vaccines for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) without going through public bidding, Malacañang said on Thursday.
“If it’s really necessary, there will be a problem with that because the President’s stance is he will issue [an executive order] if need be,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a virtual presser.
Roque issued the statement when quizzed if Duterte would heed the LGUs’ call for the issuance of an EO that would authorize them to skip public bidding when buying Covid-19 vaccines.
He also welcomed the lawmakers’ move to file a measure that seeks to fast-track the local governments’ procurement of Covid-19 vaccines by doing away with public bidding.
The measure, he said, would help prevent the possible delay in the administration of Covid-19 vaccines in the country.
“Congress is taking steps to pass a bill exempting local governments from certain procurement requirements to ensure that the immunization drive would not be hampered,” Roque said.
At present, LGUs may purchase Covid-19 vaccines through tripartite agreements with the national government and vaccine manufacturers.
On Feb. 8, House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco filed House Bill 8648, which provides exemptions to compliance by LGUs with the procurement requirements under Republic Act 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act.
The bill aims to waive the requirement of Phase IV trials for Covid-19 medication and vaccine stipulated in the Universal Health Care Law to expedite the procurement, provided that these are recommended and approved by the World Health Organization and other internationally recognized health agencies.It also allows concerned LGUs to make advance payment not exceeding 50 percent of the contract amount for the procurement of Covid-19 drugs and vaccines unless directed by the President. SOVEREIGNPH