SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau
22 February 2021 09:07:30 PM
The House of Representatives approved on third and final reading Monday, House Bill 8648 or the proposed “Emergency Vaccine Procurement Act of 2021,” which was earlier certified as urgent by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte. The House also approved it on second reading today. The bill authored by Speaker Lord Allan Velasco, received 225 affirmative votes, no negative vote, and six abstentions. When enacted into law, the measure would allow for the expeditious purchase and administration of COVID-19 vaccines by easing the procurement requirements of local government units. For this matter, it exempts LGUs from import duties, taxes, and other fees for the procurement, distribution, and administration of vaccines. LGUs would then have the authority to directly acquire vaccines as well as secure goods and other services in the most judicious, economical, and swift manner. To ensure the safety of Filipinos, HB 8648 also provides for the establishment of an indemnification fund for Adverse Events Following Immunization (AEFI). Along with the monitoring of individuals who received the vaccine, the Epidemiology and Surveillance Units of the Department of Health would be directed to continuously survey and investigate incidents of AEFI. In his explanatory note of HB 8648, Speaker Velasco underscored the urgency of the matter, saying that any further delay in the procurement of vaccines would continue to endanger the lives of Filipinos, especially those from the vulnerable sectors. Deputy Speakers Conrado Estrella III and Kristine Singson-Meehan presided over the plenary session.