Manila City Mayor Francisco “Isko” Domagoso has announced he has asked the City Council to set aside P200 million in the 2021 budget for the purchase of COVID-19 vaccines once they are available and approved for use.
In his weekly Facebook Live program ‘The Capital Report,’ Domagoso said the Manila City government was now preparing for the “end game” of the COVID-19 crisis as pharmaceutical firms across the world were racing to create a vaccine.
While there is no vaccine that has been approved yet, the Mayor stressed it was crucial the local government is prepared to purchase them once a vaccine is approved months from now.
“While we are trying to thrive, to suvive despite the COVID, we are looking at the immediate future,” he said.
Domagoso said that he had contacted with different pharmaceutical companies involved in the research to create a vaccine against the deadly virus.
While no vaccine has been approved yet, the Manila City government’s COVID-19 mass testing operations will remain aggressive, with the deployment of walk-in testing centers and drive thru testing sites across the nation’s capital, he said.
So far, three walk-in testing centers have been created–one each at Gat Andres Bonifacio Memorial Medical Center, Justice Jose Abad Santos General Hospital and Ospital ng Sampaloc.
He also gave assurances the members of the Manila City Council, led by Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna-Pangan, were ready to immediately pass an ordinance appropriating the budget needed to purchase COVID-19 vaccines in the future.
Meanwhile, Domagoso ordered all departments, offices and bureaus under the local government to adopt an alternative work arrangement during the implementation of a modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ), which began Tuesday and would last until August 18.
President Rodrigo Duterte approved his Cabinet’s recommendation to reimpose MECQ in Metro Manila following the appeal of the medical community to revert to strict lockdown measures.
Domagoso said the local government had to “ensure the unhampered operation and functioning of the city in delivering basic services and needs to its constituents.”
But the Mayor stressed the city government offices must take “proactive measures in protecting the health and well-being of its city officials and employees.”
Under Executive Order No. 34, Domagoso said skeletal workforce alternative work arrangement would be implemented in the following offices during MECQ:
1. Office of the Mayor
2. Office of the Secretary to the Mayor
3. Manila Public Information Office
4. Office of the City Administrator
5. City Personnel Office
6. Manila Barangay Bureau
7. City General Services Office
8. City Budget Office
9. Office of the City Accountant
10. City Treasurer’s Office
11. Department of Public Services, Op. Div. & Dist. Offs.
12. Dept. of Engineering & Public Works Operations
13. Department of Assessment
14. Bureau of Permits
15. Manila Hawkers Office
16. Public Recreations Bureau, Operations
17. Parks Development Office, Operations
Likewise, the following departments, bureaus and offices will be in full operation in the same period, except for its office-based personnel:
1. Manila Health Department , including North and South Cemeteries
2. All City Hospitals except Ospital ng Maynila
3. Manila Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office
4. Manila Department of Social Welfare
5. Manila Traffic and Parking Bureau
6. Veterinary Inspection Board
7. Market Administration Office
All offices not mentioned will implement a work from home alternative work arrangement.
In addition, Domagoso said senior citizens, PWDs, pregnant and those below 21 years old who are officials and employees of the city government would also be on a work from home alternative work arrangement.
“The Head of Office shall ensure that payroll officer and clerk in charge in the preparation and processing of payroll shall be required to report for a certain time to ensure that salaries of officials and employees are released on time,” Domagoso said.