26 gov't agencies approved construction of mega jab center â DOT
This undated image shows the design of the Palafox Group for the proposed mega vaccination hub on Nayong Pilipino Foundation's (NPF) property at Entertainment City in Parañaque City.

26 gov't agencies approved construction of mega jab center — DOT

Rosette Adel (Philstar.com) - May 12, 2021 - 7:50pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Tourism on Wednesday denied that only its agency, NTF chief implementer and vaccine czar Galvez, the International Container Terminal Services (ICTSI) Foundation of the Razon Group are supposedly pushing for the construction of the vaccination site..  

It cited the IATF Resolution 109 dated April 10, 2021 that ratified the proposal to construct a free and temporary public walk-in and drive thru vaccination center in the vacant portion of the NPF property.

“This approval would not have happened if there was no consensus among the 26 agencies of the government, headed by their respective Secretaries, which makeup the IATF,” the DOT said.

Aside from these, the DOT denied that it is dealing directly with Razon’s ICTSI.

“The only role of DOT was to facilitate the use of the NPF property because it is the mother agency of the NPF. This is similar to how the DOT facilitated the use of a portion of the Rizal Park for a vaccination site, in coordination with the National Parks Development Committee, another agency attached to the DOT with the City of Manila,” the tourism agency said.

DOH in charge of project

According to DOT, the Department of Health based on its mandate, will enter into a memorandum of agreement with the NPF. This MOA states that the DOH will be in charge of overseeing the operations of the ICTSI Foundation in the vaccination center. It is also obligated “to maintain the property in good condition.”

“The DOT will have no involvement in the operations and management of the site,” the agency stressed.

In line with this, the DOT denied that Health Secretary Francisco Duque III does not support the construction plan. It said Duque was among the signatory of the resolution as he is the chairman of the IATF that authorized the NTF to push through with this controversial project.

To accommodate the innovative proposal of the private sector to provide free assistance in vaccine administration, the DOT said the DOH has constituted a Technical Working Group (TWG) under the National Vaccination Operations Center (NVOC) which is tasked to formulate guidelines for similar future arrangements. During the meetings of the NVOC-TWG on April 15, April 19, April 26, April 28, and May 5.

“The DOH sought to thresh out technicalities in the mega vaccination sites and has expressed support for the Mega Vaccination Site in the NPF Property,” it said, adding Isberto attended meetings with NVOC-TWG.

‘Not illegal’

 Lastly, the DOT refuted the claims that the use of the vacant lot of NPF is “illegal.”

The DOT said the utilization of the NPF property is aligned with

Presidential Decree No. 1445 or the Government Auditing Code of the Philippines which provides that "government funds or property shall be spent or used solely for public purposes.”

It stressed that the inoculation center will service thousands of Filipinos and is not for a commercial venture.

“The land will not be used for any income-generating purpose, and under the draft MOA for the use of the property, which will be between DOH and NPF, the use of the NPF Property will be time-bound or for one year reckoned from the date of signing of the said agreement and will be exclusively used as a vaccination center within the purview of the government’s national vaccination program,” the DOT said.

It also cited that under the Republic Act No. 11525 or the COVID-19 Vaccination Program Act of 2021, the DOH and the NTF are allowed enter into “multiparty agreements for the procurement and administration of vaccines.”

The proposed vaccine facility is eyed to accommodate 12,000 individuals daily.

In October last year, the NPF announced that halted its development projects to pave way for the efforts in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic. It mentioned its land in Entertainment City has been delegated one of the quarantine facilities that will be raised.

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