Abellanosa’s bill seeks to give every Filipino access to free COVID vaccine when ready
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Rep. Rodrigo Abellanosa of Cebu City’s south district has filed a bill in Congress that will make sure that every Filipino citizen will have access to free coronavirus disease vaccine as soon as this is made available.
Abellanosa said that his bill was in fulfillment of a promise which President Rodrigo Duterte made during his State of the Nation Address (SONA) in July to prioritize COVID-19 vaccination in the country.
No COVID vaccine is available to date, but studies that are being conducted in China and the United Kingdom (UK) are now on stage three of its clinical trials, which means that these are now being tested on people.
Abellanosa’s House Bill No. 7287 entitled an “Act Establishing a Free COVID-19 Vaccine Program for all Filipinos and Appropriating Funds Thereof” or the “Free COVID-19 Vaccination Act” also directs the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to formulate guidelines on the distribution of the vaccine.
He submitted his draft bill to the House of Representatives on August 5.
“This representation from Cebu City 2nd District filed HB No. 7287 as the very first bill in Congress that provides funds for the Free Covid-19 Vaccination Program for the entire country. Aside from funding, this bill also emphasizes the urgent need to craft the IRR (implementing rules and regulations) as soon as the bill is enacted into law and even before the vaccine becomes available in the market,” said Abellanosa in a text message to CDN Digital.
Abellanosa said an IRR was necessary to avoid a repeat of the lapses that were committed during the distribution of the Special Amelioration Program (SAP) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), which he earlier gave a failing mark.
“We do not want a repeat of the confusions and delays in the SAP financial assistance distribution due to the half-baked IRR and haphazard implementation preparations,” he said.
Abellanosa is confident that the proposed bill, even if consolidated with other similar bills, will soon be enacted into law as this is in line with the vision of the President to make COVID-19 vaccines accessible to every Filipino.
“Further, this bill seeks free access to the vaccine to safeguard the health of the country’s most precious resource, the Filipino population,” he added. / dcb
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