Manila LGU to purchase COVID-19 vaccine for 200K residents

Robie de Guzman   •   January 4, 2021   •   310

MANILA, Philippines – The city government of Manila is preparing for the roll out of its COVID-19 vaccination plan for an initial number of 200,000 residents, Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso said Monday.

In a statement, Domagoso said the city government is ready to execute a city-wide vaccine deployment operation once a vaccine has been approved for distribution and usage in the country.

Domagoso is also encouraging his constituents to register in the city’s vaccination portal at www.manilacovid19vaccine.com.

Mayor Isko said that through the launching of the pre-registration for the COVID-19 vaccine, the local government of Manila would be able to detect those interested having a vaccine.

“Ito yung pamamaraan ng syudad na pagiging maagap na inihahanda na natin kasi modesty aside, the City of Manila reserved already P200M since July and we’ve been talking to multinational pharmaceutical pharmacies even though they are in phase 2 at that time, at yan nagtagumpay yan kasi nagkaroon ng movement,” Domagoso said.

Likewise, the mayor said that non-disclosure agreements have already been signed with two multinational pharmaceutical companies last month.

“Ito yung paghahanda. Ngayon dalhin diyan, mayroon na agad kaming target market, sila na yung mauuna at mas mabilis kasi dahil alam namin na interesado ka, dahil alam namin you signed already the waiver you will be the first in line,” he said.

“Having said that, we will try to reach as many as possible because the first order that we are trying to eye in our own little way is 400,000 dosage that will serve 200,000 Manileños,” he added.

Domagoso assured that the city government will only use vaccines that are approved by the country’s Food and Drug Authority (FDA).

DOF OKs inclusion of COVID-19 vaccine imports in express lane for tax processing

Robie de Guzman   •   February 26, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – All importations of COVID-19 vaccines will now be included in the “Mabuhay” or express lane of the Department of Finance to allow quick processing of the tax and duty exemptions of these shipments, the department said.

In a statement issued on Thursday, the DOF said Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III approved the inclusion of vaccine imports to allow for the expedited processing of the tax and exemptions for vaccine applications.

Under Department Order 29-94, the Mabuhay Lane is tasked to expeditiously process applications for the tax and duty exemption of certain groups of importers, which include export-oriented firms, returning residents (balikbayans) and non-profit, non-stock educational institutions.

COVID-19 vaccine tax exemption applications in the Mabuhay Lane, which is under the DOF’s Revenue Office, will be processed within 24 working hours, the department said.

These tax exemption policies will be incorporated in the inter-agency guidelines on the implementation of a one-stop shop for international donations and government-procured COVID-19 vaccines, the department added.

Dominguez also approved the waiving of filing fees for COVID-19 vaccine applications under the Mabuhay Lane and the use of the Tax Exemption System Online Filing Module in processing the vaccine imports “to further support the government’s rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination program.”

“We add that the Mabuhay Lane currently processes all Relief Consignment under Section 120 in relation to 121 of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA). The Lane is expected to process all COVID-19 vaccines which may qualify as relief consignment,” Finance Undersecretary Antonette Tionko said.

Relief Consignment refers to goods donated to national government agencies and accredited private entities for free distribution to, or for the use of, victims of calamities.

Under Section 121 of the CMTA, relief consignment imported during a state of calamity and intended for the use of calamity victims shall be exempted from the payment of duties and taxes.

COVID-19 inoculation mandatory but soldiers can choose brand – AFP spox

Robie de Guzman   •   February 25, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The vaccination of military personnel against the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) will be mandatory although the soldiers can choose which brand to receive, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said on Thursday.

In a virtual press briefing, AFP Spokesperson Major General Edgard Arevalo said all soldiers will be obliged to get inoculated as ordered by AFP chief of staff Lieutenant General Cirilito Sobejana.

The directive came even as the military has yet to ascertain where its vaccine supply will be coming from, or if they are among those who will receive the first 600,000 doses of Sinovac vaccines donated by the Chinese government.

“Ang Sandatahang Lakas ng Pilipinas po is not like any ordinary organizations. Tayo po ay nasa service-orientated organization. Tayo po ang inaasahan sa napakaraming mabibigat na tungkulin kagaya nga po ng pagharap sa pandemya as early as 2020. Kaya sinabi natin na hindi opsyon ang pag-ayaw. Subalit kinikilala natin yung kanilang kagustuhan ng brand na gusto nila” he said.

Military personnel who will be choosing other brands of the vaccine will need to pay for their own jabs, Arevalo said.

Those who refuse to get vaccinated will face sanctions under military rules, he added.

“We are an organization under military regulations. So, ang pagtupad sa mga regulasyon o sa mga tinatadhana ng existing legal orders buhat sa ating mga superiors just like this one from the AFP Chief of Staff, no less, will be dealt with disciplinary actions kung hindi nila susundin,” he said.

“But we are confident na hindi na tayo darating sa punto na iyon,” he added.

The AFP said all its employees and troops assigned in the medical and healthcare units will be the first to get inoculated against COVID-19.

The donated Sinovac COVID-19 vaccines from China are expected to arrive in the country this weekend. RRD (with details from Correspondent Joan Nano)

Office of the President eyeing Sinopharm vaccine for PRRD under compassionate use

Marje Pelayo   •   February 25, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Office of the President is studying the possibility of also administering Sinopharm vaccine to President Rodrigo Duterte by way of compassionate use license.

Malacañang is referring to the 10,000 doses that the Food and Drug Administration had earlier granted compassionate special permit intended for the use of the Presidential Security Group (PSG).

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque during a televised press briefing on Thursday said, the president’s legal team is studying whether there is a “legal basis” for this option.

“They are studying kung pupuwedeng gamitin iyong compassionate use para legal basis for the President to have the Sinopharm vaccines but it is still being studied by the Malacanang legal office,” he said.

Roque believes that, as the vaccine is intended for the President’s men, he is also qualified to be given the vaccine being the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Sinopharm is also the brand of choice of the chief executive, he said.

“If you ask me as a lawyer, he is the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and he should be allowed to use the Sinopharm under the compassionate use license,” Roque said.

It can be recalled that several members of the PSG were inoculated with Sinopharm vaccines even without proper authorization from the FDA.

Meanwhile, the Palace maintained that the PSG has yet to receive the said 10,000 doses under the compassionate special permit.

The Sinopharm vaccine maker also has not yet applied for an emergency use authorization from the FDA. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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