Iloilo SP grants Defensor authority to enter into AstraZeneca vaccine deal

ILOILO Gov. Arthur Defensor, Jr. is expected to enter into a contract with AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals soon for the purchase of COVID-19 vaccines for the province./INews (Photo: PNA)

ILOILO–Like most, if not all, chief executives of local government units in the country and perhaps all heads of governments around the world, Iloilo governor Arthur Defensor, Jr. has joined the long queue of governors and mayors waiting in line to be given a substantial dose of vaccines against the dreaded coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as soon as they hit the market later this year.

And while he waits, it was learned that the Sangguniang Panlalawigan had called for a special session yesterday afternoon to grant Defensor the authority to enter into a confidential agreement with AstraZeneca for the purchase of the vaccines.

The governor is hindered by law to sign contracts on behalf of the province without the explicit permission of the provincial board.

“Not one among my colleagues in the provincial legislature voted to deny Gov. Defensor the power to sign a contract with AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals Philippines, Inc. on behalf of the Province of Iloilo and together with representatives of the Department of Health and the National Task Force against COVID-19,” said 4th District Board Member Rolly Distura.

In the same special session, Iloilo vice-governor Christine Garin disclosed that the provincial government plans to prioritize the immunization of Iloilo’s 135,000 health workers before anyone else using the already reserved but undisclosed number of doses of the said vaccine expected to arrive by the third quarter of this year at the latest.

The latest figures coming from the Center for Health Development here in the region have pegged the number of active cases in Iloilo Province at 192, the highest in Western Visayas following the nosedive of active cases in Negros Occidental to just 158. Such a development has given Capitol officials more impetus to secure the purchase of the vaccines as soon as possible./(N. Glenn Aragon/INews)

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