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Zubiri: Senate requesting 5k doses of Sputnik COVID-19 vaccine for its employees

The Senate is requesting the national government to allow the chamber to procure 5,000 doses of the Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine to be administered to its employees, Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri said Wednesday.

During the Senate plenary session, Zubiri disclosed that the Senate leadership is in talks with Malacañang and the officials involved in the COVID-19 vaccination program to allow the Senate to procure some of the Sputnik V vaccines which he said is coming within the month.

"We were appealing if we can buy an allotment of 5,000 doses that's good for 2,500 staff of the Senate and secretariat," he said.

"Para pagbalik natin on May (So when we return in May), everybody could start coming back to work knowing fully well that they are protected from this disease and virus," he added.

Zubiri lamented reports that barangay personnel and even an actor were able to get COVID-19 vaccines ahead of those on the priority list.

He said he was making the request in order to protect Senate employees, who are essential to the work of the chamber.

"The business of legislation cannot be delayed. If we have no members of the Bills and Index, we have no pages, we have no staff, we cannot have hearings. Without legislation, we cannot pass key important measures including the national budget," he said.

"Maski hindi na ang mga senador, unahin natin ang lahat ng staff. (Never mind the senators, so long as all our staff gets it first). We can work from home, but in the absence of our staff, we cannot pass legislation. If we cannot pass legislation, one branch of government is paralyzed," he added.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III said the national government has already agreed to the request of the Senate to procure Sputnik V vaccines.

"The Secretariat informed that after they talked to you, they already got in touch, couple of days ago with Gamaleya. And they agreed already. The problem is IATF, mabagal ang aksyon (slow in action)," he told Zubiri.

Sotto also said that the chamber's employees are the priority for the vaccination.

The Senate, along with the House of Representatives, is set to take a session break in time for the Holy Week beginning next week, and will resume session on May 17. — RSJ, GMA News