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Zubiri seeks probe into LGUs’ tripartite deals for COVID-19 vaccine procurement

Zubiri seeks probe into LGUs’ tripartite deals for COVID-19 vaccine procurement

Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri on Tuesday filed a resolution seeking a Senate investigation into local government units’ tripartite agreements for the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines as “almost all” have not been signed and put “on hold.”

In an ANC interview, Zubiri disclosed that he has filed Senate Resolution 858 which asks the Senate to convene the Committee of the Whole and quiz the National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 on the tripartite deals.

The lawmaker pointed out that under the Vaccination Program Act of 2021, LGUs, through multi-party agreements, were allowed to procure their own COVID-19 vaccines.

“I believe 42 local governments have already reserved, provinces from Marinduque to Bukidnon, all these provinces, nag-order na po sila, pati (they ordered their own vaccines even the) private sector,” he said.

“The feedback by most of the LGUs na kinausap ko, wala pa (that I have spoken with, there are no updates on the agreements). Almost all have not been signed… It’s all on hold,” he added.

Zubiri said the status of the multi-party deals “boggles” his mind as he underscored that the LGUs have prepared funds for the procurement of their own COVID-19 vaccines.

“It boggles the mind once again. Nandito na po ‘yung pondo. Ito po ay locally-sourced funding, ‘di po sa national government. Hindi na po natin kailangang mangutang. 'Di na po kailangan mag-realign ng budget,” the lawmaker underscored. 

(It boggles the mind once again. The funds are here. These are locally-sourced funding and not from the national government. We don't need to borrow money and we don't need to realign the items in the budget.)

In a separate statement, Zubiri said that his resolution mentioned about at least 10 million doses that the LGUs and some 300 companies have ordered through the multi-party agreements. 

These deals remain pending, he noted.

He cited the case in his hometown, Bukidnon, where the LGU has allotted around P500 million for the purchase of the COVID-19 jabs, but the local government “has not been able to do so due to the non-action” on the multi-party agreements (MPAs) with the national government.

“That is why I’m appealing to the IATF [Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases] to immediately release all the MPAs pending with the NTF and the DOH [Department of Health] so our LGUs and the private sector can help achieve our government’s goal of herd immunity by December,” he said.

The lawmaker also said the NTF should also explain the cause of delay in the processing of the multi-party agreements to find solutions and move forward with the procurements.

GMA News Online contacted vaccine czar and NTF Chief Implementer Carlito Galvez Jr. for comment. 

Galvez however apologized in June for the vaccination delay in some local government units due to a lack of vaccine supply.

In July, Galvez said there are delays in arrival of vaccine shipments due to preparations and redeployment of vaccine manufacturers. —With a report from Virgil Lopez/KG, GMA News