Carmelo Lazatin mulls P600M loan for COVID-19 vaccine purchase
The city government here is eyeing for a PHP600-million loan intended for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccines to inoculate 411,634 residents here.
This was announced on Sunday by Mayor Carmelo Lazatin Jr. after the Department of Health (DOH) in a letter dated Jan. 18, 2021 replied to the chief executive that “transfer of fund(s) to local government units is not applicable under these circumstances.”
Lazatin has earlier allocated PHP25 million for the purchase of Covid-19 vaccines.
He also sought the assistance of the DOH to augment a counterpart of PHP50 million for the procurement of the Covid-19 vaccines.
However, the allocated budget does not suffice to accommodate the 411,634 residents in the area which prompted the city government to lobby with financial institutions to acquire the PHP600-million loan.
“As one of my thrusts, no Angeleno will be left behind particularly for the safety of every resident here,” he said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Lazatin tapped his chief adviser and tactician, Irish Calaguas, to represent him in initial talks with leading financial institutions so the city government will be able to acquire doses of vaccines for residents.
Lazatin said he will ask the city council led by Vice Mayor Vicky Vega-Cabigting to authorize him to enter into a loan agreement to provide free vaccines to all city residents.
“The city government has more than enough borrowing capacity. I am just putting it in good use,” he added.
He also instructed the city health officials led by Dr. Froilan Canlas of the Rafael Lazatin Memorial Medical Center or Ospital Ning Angeles and Dr. Verona Guevera of the City Health Office to come out with initial guidelines for the inoculation.
“While waiting for the guidelines of the national government, we are drafting our own as well then we will adjust according to the guidelines of the national government,” he said. (PNA)
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