Abra province has gone ahead against COVID19 by already putting in place a vaccination task force.
Abra Governor Ma. Jocelyn Bernos together with different agency heads meeting this week have planned how to go about the vaccination program in the province once vaccines are available.
“A 30 million fund is readily available as augmentation (for the national government’s allocation) to finance the program,” Gov. Bernos said, while expressing willingness to “shell out more funding from the provincial finances when needed” to complete the vaccination.
“Abreños health and well-being is our priority,” vowed Bernos, though sighing that the provincial government will have to sacrifice other essential projects in the meantime in lieu of the vaccination program.
Though Abra has not forged any deal yet with any pharmaceutical firm that would supply vaccines for the inoculation program.
Gov. Bernos, who have since day one instituted an “iron hand” in the entry and exit in the province to thwart the fast spread of the virus reiterated that their best defense yet is discipline with the minimum health and safety protocols.
Citing the documentary bases on emergency responses, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) believes that local government units may be allowed to utilize their local Quick Response Funds (QRF) to procure vaccines against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), provided that such inoculants are approved by the Food and Drug Authority (FDA).
Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado previously said that he would leave it to the NDRRMC to determine whether or not local governments could use their 30% QRF to purchase COVID-19 vaccines.
NDRRMC Executive Director Ricardo Jalad last week said that three legal documents are already in place supporting decisions of LGUs to do so, including the Republic Act 10121. “Sa legal basis na paggamit ng QRF as provided for by RA 10121, sinasabi diyan na ang Quick Response Fund ay standby fund for relief and recovery programs, in order that situations and living condition of people in communities and areas stricken by disaster, calamities, epidemics, or complex emergencies maybe normalized as quickly as possible [On the legal basis on the use of QRF as provided for by RA 10121, it is stated there that the Quick Response Fund is a standby fund for relief and recovery programs, in order that situations and living condition of people in communities and areas stricken by disaster, calamities, epidemics, or complex emergencies maybe normalized as quickly as possible ],” he said.
A joint memorandum circular 2013-1 between the NDRRMC, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) dated March 25, 2013, may also serve as basis as it granted LGUs greater flexibility towards disaster mitigation, preparation, response, rehabilitation, and recovery.
Artemio A. Dumlao