TUGUEGARAO CITY, Cagayan: Governor Manuel Mamba on Friday said he is willing to allot a P500-million budget for the purchase of vaccines for all Cagayanos with no prioritization as protection against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

mamba - All of Cagayan to gain from P500-M vaccines
Cagayan Gov. Manuel Mamba

Once the Covid-19 vaccine is available in the country, he added, the provincial government will purchase enough for all Cagayanos with the amount, including those that will come from cash donations from government agencies as well as the savings from the 2020 budget.

“We have a lot of fund sources, but we will see if these can be utilized for the purchase of the vaccines,” Mamba said.

He challenged Cagayan’s municipal governments to allot from their budget for the purchase of their own vaccines to augment the supply that will come from the provincial and national governments.

“We cannot do this alone. The national government has already allotted a budget for the purchase of the vaccines, and the provincial government has its budget for this. The LGUs (local government units) should also have their counterparts [in order] that we can achieve our goal to inoculate all Cagayanos. That will free us from this pandemic,” Mamba said.

He added that the provincial government will not only depend on the limited national government’s share for the vaccines, but must also find ways and means to ensure its access to available vaccines in order to enable business and other sectors to renew their usual economic activities.

“Our neighboring countries have already started with their vaccination programs. We will try to access one of these as early as possible, and we will all receive the vaccination with no prioritization,” Mamba said.

To allay fears of side effects from the vaccine, the governor also said he is very much willing to be the first to receive vaccination as long as the vaccine has the approval of the Food and Drug Administration.

“In case we will be needing more funds and the budget of the province will not be sufficient to purchase the vaccine for all, the provincial government is willing to seek loan grants from financial institutions,” he added.

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