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Local government units may now make advance payments to vaccine manufacturers, Malacañang said on Thursday.

President Rodrigo Duterte has signed the memorandum order on exceeding the fifteen percent limit on advanced payments for the procurement of Covid-19 vaccines, Palace spokesman Harry Roque said in a statement.

Roque said the document would help ensure the “timely and efficient implementation of the government’s Covid-19 mass vaccination program.”

In a Palace briefing, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said the order would speed up the country’s procurement of Covid-19 vaccines from manufacturers requiring advance payments, such as AstraZeneca.

“At ito po ay napakagandang balita lalung-lalo na ngayon po ay malapit na po iyong advance payment natin sa AstraZeneca,” he said.

In September last year, Duterte bashed countries requiring the payment of cash advances for their vaccines.

The country aims to inoculate 70 million Filipinos this year to achieve herd immunity against the virus. John Ezekiel J. Hirro