House adopts Senate bill expediting COVID-19 vax purchase

MANILA – The House of Representatives on Tuesday night adopted the Senate version of a bill that would establish and expedite the purchase and administration of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) vaccines to Filipinos.

The House’s adoption of Senate Bill 2057, or the proposed Covid-19 Vaccination Program Act of 2021, would no longer require a bicameral conference meeting.

This means that the measure now awaits the signature of President Rodrigo Duterte for its enactment into law.

The bill seeks to authorize the Department of Health and the National Task Force Against Covid-19 to undertake negotiated procurement of Covid-19 vaccines and the needed supplies and services for their storage, transport, and distribution.

Local government units (LGUs) shall be allowed to purchase Covid-19 vaccines and needed supplies and services.

Similarly, private entities shall also be allowed to purchase vaccines, subject to similar restrictions and conditions set for LGUs and only for the sole and exclusive use of these private entities.

Exemptions shall be provided from customs duties, value-added tax, excise tax, donor’s tax, and other fees levied on the procured Covid-19 vaccines and the necessary supplies for their storage, transport, and distribution.

Under the bill, a PHP500-million indemnity fund will also be created, which will be used to compensate any inoculated person who subsequently experiences serious adverse side effects or worse, death.The fund will be sourced from the Contingent Fund and will be administered by PhilHealth. (PNA)

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