DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 16 January) — Some businessmen here have approached the local government to express their intention to donate cash for the purchase of COVID-19 vaccines, Mayor Sara Duterte said.
Duterte said during her program over Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR 87.5) on Friday, that the private sector was willing to help the local government in its fight against COVID-19.
The mayor did not reveal the identity of the businessmen and the amount pledged to the city.
She said the city government has not accepted the cash due to the limitations in the procurement process.
“The city government did not accept the money from the private sector because even us, in the local government, can’t directly go to the vaccine-maker and say we will buy vaccines,” she said.
Local government units may only procure COVID-19 vaccines by entering into a tripartite deal with the national government and vaccine-maker.
Last Thursday, a tripartite agreement among the national government, local government units, private sector, and vaccine manufacturer was signed to purchase additional 14.4 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines from the British-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca.
This will bring to 17 million the total vaccines to be procured under a tripartite scheme for the country, according to the National Task Force COVID-19.
AstraZeneca committed to deliver initial doses of AZD1222, the vaccine jointly developed by the British and with Oxford University, to Davao City by the third quarter of this year.
Duterte said the city’s supply of vaccines will augment the nationwide vaccination program, targeting individuals who are not in the priority list of the national government.
The national government will give priority to frontline health workers, indigent senior citizens, remaining senior citizens, remaining indigent population, and uniformed personnel.
She said the local government did not set a ceiling on the budget for vaccines since it will also negotiate for more supply from other pharmaceutical firms.
Duterte also said the local government is not expecting the local economy to recover this year.
Citing the assessment of the tax and auditing service firm SGV, Duterte said the local economy may start picking up in 2022.
As of January 15, the Department of Health (DOH)-Davao Region reported 171 new cases, bringing the total cases to 14,54, with 2,356 active, 11,700 recoveries, and 598 deaths in the region.
Out of the total, Davao City, which reported the highest COVID-19 cases in Mindanao, tallied 10,087 cases, with 1,358 active, 8,225 recoveries, and 474 deaths.
Davao de Oro reported 717 cases, Davao del Norte with 1,963, Davao del Sur with 1,081, Davao Occidental with 164, and Davao Oriental with 642. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)