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by Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol
Chairman, Mindanao Development Authority

The Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) will rally the local government units and private companies in Mindanao to group together and launch a regional COVID 19 vaccination program supervised by the Department of Health and the Inter-Agency Task Force on COVID 19.

This was agreed upon yesterday during the second leg of the Mindanao Economic Recovery Facilitation Forum sponsored by MinDA which gathered all sectors in the region to address issues and concerns which could impede the immediate economic recovery.

In the forum attended by government agencies yesterday, the Department of Health, represented by Undersecretary Abdullah Dumama, reported that new guidelines now allow the private sector and the local government units to procure vaccines for their employees.

This development followed the pronouncement of President Rodrigo Duterte that the private sector would be allowed to procure vaccines for their workers and officials.

The massive vaccination campaign, however, has largely been concentrated in Metro Manila where COVID 19 cases have increased over the last few months.

With less than 1-million individuals, including frontliners, inoculated by the COVID 19 vaccine in Mindanao, the issue was raised by the private sector during the first leg of the forum.

The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry during the first leg of the Mindanao Economic Recovery Forum asked government for guidelines on how to initiate a COVID vaccination program involving the LGUs and the private sector so that the economic activities could be restarted.

Usec Dumama said the new guidelines now would allow LGU and private sector procurement of the vaccine but this initiative was impeded by the need to consolidate the volume of the vaccines to be imported.

He said the Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City has the capability of storing the vaccines which would be imported.

Among the agreed points on the Mindanao COVID 19 vaccination initiative were:

The Mindanao Vaccination Program will be supervised by the Department of Health and the IATF;

2. The Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) will serve as the lead convenor for LGUs and private companies who will participate in the program;

3. The procurement of the vaccines will be funded fully by the LGUs and the private companies;

4. MinDA will act as the consolidator and facilitator of the Vaccine Importation to ensure that the volume required by the exporters would be met;

5. MinDA will also provide assistance to LGUs which are not financially capable to procure the vaccines to avail of loan funds from financing institutions;

6. DOH will make representations with the IATF so that imported vaccines will be shipped directly to Davao City instead of passing through the DOH facilities in Metro Manila to avoid double handling.

This week, MinDA will start communicating with the LGUs and private companies in Mindanao to determine the initial volume of vaccines which would be bought with the assistance of DOH and IATF.

The COVID 19 Mindanao Vaccination Initiative has been identified as one of the critical components of Mindanao's Economic Recovery.

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