Cebu City dad pushes measure prohibiting selling of vaccine slots
CEBU CITY, Philippines — A Cebu City Councilor has filed a proposed ordinance that should prevent the selling of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine slots in Cebu City amid the ongoing vaccination rollout.
Councilor Alvin Dizon, the proponent of the ordinance, said there is a need to prevent these kinds of unscrupulous activities during these critical times when vaccines are limited and the pandemic continues to make the economy suffer.
He cites Republic Act No. 115251, which states “the procurement, importation, donation, storage, transport, deployment, and administration of COVID-19 vaccines through the COVID-19 Vaccination Program by the government or any of its political subdivisions and by private entities shall be exempt from customs duties, value-added tax, excise tax, donor’s tax, and other fees, provided, that the vaccines shall not be intended for resale or other commercial use.”
This proposed ordinance specifically prohibits and penalizes the sale, distribution, or administration of COVID-19 vaccines and the sale of vaccination slots by any person, institution, corporation, group, or organization for gain, income, or profit.
With the measure, it shall be unlawful for any person, institution, corporation, group, or organization to engage in the sale, distribution, or administration of COVID-19 vaccines and the sale of vaccination slots for gain, income or profit, while the country is in a state of public health emergency and without full market authorization issued by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
“This is to help minimize, if not eliminate, the inequities in vaccine distribution by penalizing those who commercialize the process, the integrity of such vaccine distribution being critical to building trust and inspiring confidence in the COVID-19 vaccines among the public,” said Dizon.
The proposed ordinance will impose a fine of P5,000 and imprisonment of up to six months to violators.
If the violation is committed by a public official or employee of the city government, in addition to the penalties imposed in the ordinance, he or she shall be dismissed and permanently disqualified from holding any city government office or position.
All other public officials and employees caught violating this ordinance shall be dealt with in accordance with the provisions of pertinent national laws governing the conduct of public officials and employees.
If the violation is committed by a corporation or other juridical entity, the directors, officers, employees, or other, responsible officers will be charged and penalized.
In addition, the business license issued to these persons, corporations, group, or organizations shall be immediately revoked and shall be banned from doing business in the City of Cebu.
Dizon hopes his fellow council members will see the importance in protecting the vaccine supply.
The proposed ordinance is now being discussed by the Committee on Law for review.
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