House helping gov’t acquire COVID-19 vaccines

SPEAKER Alan Peter Cayetano said Congress is helping the government prepare for the challenges brought by the “new normal” including the procurement of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines.

In a statement, Cayetano said while waiting for the availability of vaccines from abroad, the government must have sufficient budget for procurement of  anti-COVID shots.

A P10-billion budget was allocated for the procurement of vaccines under the Bayanihan 2 or We Recover As One Act.

“Like I always say, we have to adapt, innovate, and manage in the new normal. So, ngayon pa lang talagang naghahanda na tayo para sa vaccine. Hindi pupuwede na kung kailan nandiyan at saka pa lang tayo maghahanap ng pera. ‘Yun ‘yung sinasabi ko na we have to be equipped,” Cayetano said.

The race to get COVID-19 medication and vaccine got a boost as the Bicameral Conference Committee adopted the House of Representatives’ initiative to waive the Phase IV trial requirement that had been set by the Universal Healthcare Law.

“We appreciate the swift approval of the Bicameral Conference Committee. Sa panahon ngayon, talagang dapat handa na tayo sa bigger challenge na dala ng new normal. Dito sa Kongreso, at kasama ang Senado,we aim to respond to this challenge equipped and full-force,”  Cayetano said.

The Bicam version of the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan 2) is based on Sec. 9 of House Bill No. 6953, which is intended to expedite the procurement and distribution of medication and vaccine for COVID-19 subject to conditions set by the committee.

“Once the medication and vaccine are available, we will do everything and we will really go out of our way to make sure that our kababayans can access them,” the Speaker added.