ILOILO CITY—The local government of this city is eyeing P100 million to fund the purchase of vaccines against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

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A utility worker wearing a face mask walks across Plaza Libertad, which overlooks Iloilo City Hall. (Tara Yap/Manila Bulletin)

“As early as now, we are preparing for the P100-million fund for the COVID-19 vaccine once it becomes available in the market next year,” said Mayor Jerry Treñas.

“Aside from the vaccines provided by the national government, we shall also secure a budget to ensure that a huge number of our Ilonggo families will be given vaccine,” added Treñas in a talk with City Hall employees Monday, November 9.

To be prioritized for the future COVID-19 vaccine would be City Hall workers and barangay officials, who are considered frontline workers.

“We don’t know when the vaccine will be available next year, but as far as Iloilo City is concerned, I want to assure you that we will purchase vaccines for you and your families,” assured Treñas.

However, it remains unclear where the funding will come from. The executive branch of the city government has already submitted a proposed P2.7-billion budget for fiscal year 2021 to the Iloilo City council.

Treñas earlier pointed out that the proposed budget for next year will almost be the same as this year due to the challenges posed by COVID-19.

Under Treñas, there could also be a public-private partnership (PPP) approach to the problem.

An online art gallery run by the mayor’s daughter has been selling art works, in which proceeds are supposed to go to raising funds to purchase COVID-19 vaccines.

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