By Deighton Acuin


Senator Christopher “Bong” Go said that President Rodrigo Duterte is now willing to receive doses of coronavirus vaccines publicly — if allowed by his doctors — in a bid to boost the public’s confidence in the government’s inoculation program.

“President Duterte and I were able to talk on the matter. He plans to have himself vaccinated if his doctors agree, and that this should be made public so that Filipinos can be confident of being vaccinated,” Go told reporters on Thursday after attending the opening of the country’s 101st Malasakit Center at the Gov. Roque Ablan Sr. Memorial Hospital in Laoag City, Ilocos Norte.

Go said Duterte and other officials should get vaccinated in public not because they are among those who will be under priority list to get doses but “to set an example, to get the people’s confidence.”

He said he continues to urge Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and Vaccine Czar Carlito Galvez Jr. to ensure the safety and effectiveness of the procured vaccines.

Earlier, Senate President Vicente Sotto III and Senator Manny Pacquiao said they are willing to get vaccinated publicly so Filipinos will follow suit.

A statement issued by Pacquiao’s office said the senator since last year has been wanting to have his vaccination made public but was just “being extra careful and prudent” as it may affect his upcoming professional fight.

Senate Majority Floor Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri said that his bill seeking to authorize Local Government Units (LGUs) to procure vaccines directly would greatly support the government’s vaccine rollout program.

“Senate Bill 2042 is not going to give LGUs precedence over the national government in terms of vaccine procurement. National government will still prevail – LGUs still need to follow the national guidelines for vaccine deployment set by the Department of Health and the National Task Force against COVID-19,” Zubiri said.

“So no one should fear inequitable distribution. Whether through the national government or the LGUs, our frontliners will still be prioritized for vaccination.”

He said the measure was upon the request from local governments, 70 of which are already under negotiations with drugmakers and they need to deposit advance payment to seal deals.

Without authorization as sought by SB 2042, LGUs will lose the allocation. LGUs are also requesting that they be exempted from the requirement of purchasing goods and services from suppliers with the lowest bid.

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