PH policy limiting advance payments to 15% may hamper COVID-19 vaccine procurement – DBM chief
Robie de Guzman • February 12, 2021 • 904
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.
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has assured the public that there are sufficient funds for the government’s response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
In a statement released on Tuesday (April 4), the DBM said “sufficient funds are made available to Departments and Agencies for programs and projects in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The DBM added that aside from the regular appropriations that each agency is getting under the Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 General Appropriations Act (GAA) and the continuing FY 2020 GAA, “the total amount of P189.442-billion in allotments pursuant to the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan II) may still be utilized until June 30, 2021.”
“This is also on top of the P60.605-billion additional allotments released to the Department of Health for foreign-assisted projects, particularly on the procurement of vaccines and other essential equipment and supplies,” it added.
The advisory further said that the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund will be tapped for other COVID-19 pandemic measures that may not be covered by all available funding sources.
Details of all these releases are uploaded on the DBM website for the information and reference of all concerned, the agency said.
The DBM assures that it is committed to fulfilling its mandate “of promoting the efficient and effective management of the national budget to support its budget priorities while also ensuring that the needs of the Filipino people, especially during challenging times such as this, are met.”
MANILA, Philippines — The Manila Police District (MPD) Station 14 has stopped the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) from protesting in front of the office of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) on Friday (April 23).
The MPD Station 14, headed by its commander P.Lt.Col. Ramon Nazario ordered the group to stop the protest since mass gathering is still prohibited amid the quarantine restriction as well as the group’s lack of permit.
“Una una po alam niyo naman na nasa MECQ [Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine] tayo. Bawal po ang mga gatherings lalong lalo kung sa more than 10 at tsaka violation po ng social distancing so pinaalis po namin sila dito (Firstly, we are under MECQ. Mass gatherings are not allowed especially if it is more than 10. There was also a violation of social distancing so we asked them to leave the area),” he said.
Meanwhile, the ACT denounces the actions of the MPD. The group said the teachers trooped to the office of the DBM to call for salary upgrading and grant of due benefits.
“The Alliance of Concerned Teachers denounced the ‘high-handed’ acts of the Manila Police District to deter the teachers’ protest action and confiscate their materials in front of the Department of Budget and Management,” the group said.
ACT NCR Union Executive Vice President Louie Zabala reiterated that the group was following health protocols and slammed that police authorities are only using the quarantine restrictions to prevent the group from airing their legitimate demand.
He also stressed that the teachers urgently need economic relief through the release of overly delayed benefits and fulfillment of the president’s promise of a substantial salary increase. AAC (with reports from Dante Amento)
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)
UNTV is a major TV broadcast network with 24-hour programming. An Ultra High Frequency station with strong brand content that appeal to everyone, UNTV is one of the most trusted and successful Philippine networks that guarantees wholesome and quality viewing experience.