THE Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) on Tuesday urged the government to address immediately the legal issues surrounding the private sector’s coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccine procurement.
“The pronouncement of the President on private sector procurement of vaccines is welcome and we hope the legal issues surrounding this can be addressed immediately,” MAP said in a statement.
President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday announced he instructed vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. to sign all documents that will allow the private sector to import Covid-19 vaccines.
The private sector earlier urged the government to allow them to import vaccines for their employees to safely reopen the economy and help it recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
The government has, so far, received over 1.5 million donated Covid-19 vaccines from Sinovac and AstraZeneca and another 1 million doses of procured vaccines from Sinovac.
The surge in Covid-19 cases during the past weeks prompted the government to impose a week-long enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila and surrounding provinces.
“We obviously hope there will be no further extensions of ECQ as, after a year of lockdowns, even large businesses are hurting and many smaller ones are on the verge of closing or have closed,” said MAP.
“We understand that this is contingent on containing the rapid rise in cases. However, we hope the government also takes appropriate measures to avoid further collapse of the economy, such as providing support for businesses to help them mitigate the impact of the pandemic,” the group added.
MAP said the lockdown and its possible extension should be used to quickly augment the country’s health care capacity and infrastructure, including massive testing in areas with high Covid-19 case counts.