By Ernie Reyes
MANILA — Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson on Tuesday welcomed the decision of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte allowing the private sector to import vaccines for coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19).
“I would say, it is the President’s best birthday gift to himself,” Lacson said in a statement.
Lacson said that the next challenge, however, is compliance to his instructions by the concerned health authorities – including how long it will take to approve the applications to import their vaccines under the existing tripartite agreement.
“Then there’s the availability of vaccines in the world market, not to mention the time lag between booking and actual deliveries of the vaccines,” he explained.
The lawmaker said that had the order been issued at the time when the private sector was clamoring to be allowed to procure their own vaccines, subject to the usual existing regulations and protocols issued by the World Health Organization, by now the country would likely have been vaccinating en masse and nearing herd immunity, thanks in large part to the private sector.
“As I had repeatedly suggested in the past, in a time of crisis, the government should look at the private sector as partners rather than competitors. Unfortunately, some of those in charge of handling the pandemic do not think the same way as most of us do,” he said. (AI/MTVN)