Anti-red tape agency to smoothen accreditation process for vaccination sites

PUBLIC schools such as the Old Balara Elementary school in Quezon City pictured here are among the common sites across the country used by government for its coronavirus vaccination program. — PHILIPPINE STAR/ MICHAEL VARCAS

THE ANTI-RED Tape  Authority (ARTA) is studying putting up one-stop shops for the processing of accreditation for coronavirus vaccination sites in response to alleged delays.

ARTA made the statement following a Philippine Daily Inquirer report where Chinese General Hospital Manila Administrator Samuel Ang said hospitals have been noting excessive requirements to set up the sites.

“We would like to reach out to Dr. Ang and other possible stakeholders to discuss thoroughly their experiences in setting up a vaccination site,” ARTA Director General Jeremiah B. Belgica said in a statement on Tuesday.

“There might be a need, too, to establish a green lane or one-stop-shop for those who wish to offer their public and private hospitals as additional location for the government’s anti-COVID inoculation program,” he added.

Similarly, ARTA last month started looking into speeding up the process of  permit applications for firms that are interested in setting up local vaccine manufacturing.

Mr. Belgica in his statement said government agencies should treat procedures relating to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic response with urgency.

“Otherwise, they will be investigated and will possibly face administrative or criminal sanctions,” he said.

Meanwhile, 100 outsourcing firms are expecting COVID-19 vaccine deliveries for employees starting this quarter after signing agreements involving the national government and private sector groups.

Deliveries of AstraZeneca, Moderna, and Novovax vaccine doses will start this quarter and will continue in the second half of the year, the Information Technology & Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) said in a statement Tuesday.

IBPAP partnered with the International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI) Foundation to procure a million doses of the Moderna vaccine for the companies’ employees and their dependents.

“Assistance was also extended to micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) by aggregating and facilitating their orders,” IBPAP said.

The industry group also worked with the Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines, the Management Association of the Philippines, and the Makati Business Club.

“We cannot underscore enough the importance of a timely, efficient, and widespread rollout of the vaccine in the continued growth of the Philippine IT-BPM (information technology and business process management) industry,” IBPAP President and Chief Executive Officer Rey E. Untal said.

Outsourcing was one of the sectors allowed to operate at limited capacity on site during the strictest lockdown imposed last year.

Outsourcing revenue rose just 1.4% to $26.7 billion last year from the 2019 figure, IBPAP data showed. To compare, the sector’s revenues jumped 7.1% in 2019, beating industry targets.

The government due to global supply constraints cut its inoculation target to 50-60 million Filipinos by the end of the year from the previous 70 million goal. — Jenina P. Ibañez