To ensure early access of cities to the COVID-19 vaccines, League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP) national president Mayor Evelio “Bing” Leonardia of Bacolod City created on Dec. 23 the LCP Committee on Vaccine Availment.
“We need to strategize our efforts to ensure that our constituents have early access to quality and affordable vaccines, but we need to gather as much information as possible to guide our decisions,” Leonardia said.
The primary function of the Committee is to coordinate with the COVID-19 National Inter-Agency Task Force (NIATF) for the Management of Emerging and Infectious Diseases, the Department of Health, the Food and Drug Administration, the Department of Budget and Management, and other concerned agencies to determine and recommend the most appropriate courses of action to facilitate the availment of the COVID-19 vaccines for cities.
Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas, a former LCP president, was appointed by Leonardia as chairperson of the Committee.
The other members are national vice chairman and General Santos City Mayor Ronnel Rivera; vice president for Luzon and Balanga City Mayor Francis Anthony Garcia; Region 9 representative and Zamboanga City Mayor Beng Climaco, focal mayor for Health; and Candon City Mayor Ericson Singson.
The Committee is expected to submit their recommendations to Leonardia on or before January 8.
“Proper coordination with concerned agencies is a must. This is, after all, a top priority for all of us,” Leonardia stressed.
Aside from coordinating with concerned government agencies and key officials, the LCP Committee is also tasked to conduct “exploratory talks” with qualified pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and GlaxoSmithKline in the first week of January and carry out a collective and advantageous vaccine availment by the cities.
Leonardia believes that while the national government is committed to provide vaccines nationwide, it is to the best interest of the cities that they are ready to supplement, augment, and complete the national vaccination program.
He added that this is all a matter of teamwork to ensure our people’s health and safety.
Meanwhile, the LCP recognizing the urgency of vaccine availment, has also scheduled a dialog with Vaccine Czar Secretary Carlito Galvez on January 12 where city mayors nationwide are expected to participate.