PH policy limiting advance payments to 15% may hamper COVID-19 vaccine procurement – DBM chief

Robie de Guzman   •   February 12, 2021   •   436

MANILA, Philippines – Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Wendel Avisado on Friday raised the need to increase the 15-percent limitation on advance payments on the contract amount for the purchase of COVID-19 vaccines amid government preparations for the roll-out of its inoculation plans.

Avisado said raising the down payment limit will “ensure the timely and efficient implementation of the COVID-19 vaccination plan.”

Memorandum Order No. 172, s. 2005 only allows advance payment not exceeding 15% of the contract amount for procurement of goods required to address contingencies arising from natural or man-made calamities in areas where a “State of Calamity” has been declared by appropriate authorities.

Avisado said the government is presently experiencing difficulties in negotiating with various pharmaceutical companies due to the limitations imposed under existing laws.

“…Currently, pwede ka lang magbayad o mag advance payment hanggang 15%… Ang gusto ng mga pharmaceutical industries, bayaran mo na… I-aadvance mo na ang payment bago ma-ideliver… In other words, talagang tatalunin tayo ng mga mayayamang bansa,” Avisado said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Avisado called for greater patience and understanding from the public regarding the vaccine procurement process.

He stressed that the government cannot divulge specific details on its negotiations with pharmaceutical companies—such as prices and the manners of delivery—as both parties are bound by a confidentiality agreement.

However, he assured that all of the transactions made by the government remain legitimate and honest.

The government is also committed to ensure the safe and timely procurement, transportation, and administration of COVID-19 vaccines despite all of the limitations and challenges, he added.

“Bigyan natin ng pagkakataon naman ang ating pamahalaan na makalap muna at makakuha ng vaccine. Kasi hindi pa man nangyayari yan, ay katakot-takot na batikos ang naririnig natin, meron po mga pamamaraan dyan, kung saan makikita’t makikita natin kung meron talagang kalokohan,” Avisado said.

The DBM chief also reassured the public that the budget for the said vaccines has already been allocated and is now ready for release.

He likewise welcomed and acknowledged the efforts of various local government units across the country for complementing and cooperating with the national government in its efforts to secure the much-needed vaccines.

“Meron tayong pondo dyan…. P82.5B ang inilaan ng ating pamahalaan. Wag po tayong mag worry. Nakikipagtulungan ang mga local government units natin at sila din ay handa na bumili sa abot ng kanilang makakaya. We appreciate that very much po,” Avisado said.

PH diplomatic protest vs China law won’t affect COVID-19 vaccine procurement — Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   January 28, 2021

MANILA, Philippines Malacañang on Thursday expressed confidence that the diplomatic protest filed by the Philippines, questioning China’s new coast guard law, will not affect the country’s plan to procure vaccines developed by Chinese firms.

“Walang pong epekto yan, dahil ibang usapin naman ang bakuna. Ang bakuna po is actually humanitarian act of the entire planet earth in response to humanitarian disaster,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in an online press briefing.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on Wednesday said Manila filed a protest against Beijing’s move to pass a new law allowing its coast guard to undertake all necessary measures, including the use of weapons, when national sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction are being illegally infringed upon by foreign organizations or individuals at sea.

Locsin said that while enacting a law is a sovereign prerogative, the new law – given the area involved which is the South China Sea – is a verbal threat of war to any country that defies it.

Malacañang has welcomed the filing of the diplomatic protest, saying that this is consistent with the country’s position that while states can enact laws as part of their sovereignty, this must be done in compliance with the United Nations (UN) charter which prohibits the use of force unless by way of self-defense or when authorized by the UN Security Council.

“We welcome the diplomatic protest of the DFA, and this will prove that the Philippines is fully committed to the rule of law and will assert all its right available under existing principles of international law to defend its interests,” Roque said.

China’s new law is expected to stoke tensions anew in the disputed waters where the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan have overlapping claims.

China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which includes the Philippines and three other South China Sea claimants, are currently negotiating for a more binding code of conduct in the contested waters. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

SAP will no longer be funded under proposed 2021 national budget —DBM

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 9, 2020

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said there will be no budget to be allotted for the government’s Social Amelioration Program (SAP) under the proposed 2021 National Budget.

DBM Secretary Wendel Avisado said they expect the economy to recover next year with additional job opportunities available.

He also clarified that there will still be an allotted budget for the regular programs of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

“We’re looking at the improvement in the economy and the opportunity for people to be able to work already. And we still have the regular programs, the 4Ps your honor, that will be continued,” he said on Wednesday (September 9) during a Senate hearing.

Under the proposed P4.5 trillion budget, P171 billion will be allotted to the DSWD. AAC (with reports from Harlene Delgado)

DBM submits proposed P4.5-T proposed national budget to Congress

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 26, 2020

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has submitted the Fiscal Year 2021 National Expenditure Program (NEP) of P4.506 trillion to Congress.

The 2021 proposed National Budget is 9.9% higher compared with this year’s ₱4.1-trillion appropriations.

The DBM said the proposed budget went through numerous hearings and consultations with different government agencies. The theme of the proposed budget, according to the department, is “Reset, Rebound, and Recover: Investing for Resiliency and Sustainability”.

Personnel Services will corner the bulk of the FY 2021 NEP at 29.2% or P1.32 trillion to accommodate the additional hiring of health workers under the Human Resource for Health Program of the Department of Health (DOH) amid the fight against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

“The FY 2021 NEP will prioritize health-related COVID-19 response programs to address the continuing threat of the pandemic,” the DBM said in a statement.

This also includes the second tranche implementation of the Salary Standardization law, and the increased pension requirements of military and uniformed personnel.

Capital outlays has the second highest with P920.5 billion or 20.4% of the proposed budget. Maintenance, Operating and Other Expenditures will amount to P699.4 billion, Debt Burden with P560.2 billion, Support to Government-Owned and -Controlled Corporations with P157.5 billion, and Tax Expenditures with P14.5 billion.

Meanwhile, the Department of Education (DepEd) remains the top agency with the biggest slice from the proposed budget, with an allocation of P754.4 billion. This is followed by DPWH with a proposed budget of P667.3 billion.

The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) has a proposed budget of P246.1 billion, the Department of National Defense (DND) with P209.1 billion, the DOH with P203.1 billion (including the budget for the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation). AAC

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