Tolentino: End-users should have say

For me, end-users should also be considered the next time we would have huge emergency procurement

Senator Francis Tolentino on Sunday said buyers should be included in the future procurement deals of the government to avoid wastage.

“For me, end-users should also be considered the next time we would have huge emergency procurement,” Tolentino said in a radio interview, referring to the Department of Health.

“We have seen that the DoH was not included in the negotiation. They left it with the task force and the Department of Finance,” he added.

He issued the remarks when asked about the findings of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee on its legislative inquiry into the non-disclosure enshrined in the multibillion -peso worth of Covid-19 vaccine procurement deals of the previous administration.

50-M wastage

“The end-user should be included in the process, not just during the pre-negotiations. That is what we’ve learned,” he said.

Last week, the panel learned that the expired Covid-19 vaccine doses in the Philippines are expected to breach the 50 million mark by the end of the month.

Health Officer-in-Charge Maria Rosario Vergeire confirmed that 6.74 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines are set to expire by month-end if the vaccination uptake continues to drop.

The weekly Covid-19 vaccination rate in the country only stands at 46,000 doses per week.

‘Safety disposal’

Tolentino also tasked the Health department to ensure the proper disposal of used and expired Covid-19 vaccine vials, including the syringes used in the vaccination rollout.

“We bought so many yet we do not know where we will dispose of them,” he said.

The lawmaker said the Department of Environment and Natural Resources does not have enough capability to handle waste materials from the vaccination rollout.

“They are just outsourcing everything to a private company… They do not have data or studies regarding this. It is very saddening,” he said.

According to the Health department’s inventory last December, there were about 44 million doses that had been wasted, including the 24.6 million doses that had gone unused past their shelf life and the 6.7 million that were discarded due to “operational” lapses in their storage or handling.

Read more Daily Tribune stories at:

Follow us on social media
Facebook: @tribunephl
Youtube: TribuneNow
Twitter: @tribunephl
Instagram: @tribunephl
TikTok: @dailytribuneofficial