The Bureau of Customs (BOC) plans to use its one-stop shops in processing the expected influx of Covid-19 vaccines into the country shortly this year.
The BOC said that the use of one-stop shops was proven successful during the height of the pandemic when personal protective equipment (PPE) were released in a systematic and expeditious manner to contain the spread of the deadly virus.
It added that the one-stop shops are expected to be more efficient this time around with the Port Customer Care Centers (CCC) now fully operational and with online systems more accessible to the public. It confirmed that it has started preparations to facilitate the entry of approved vaccines into the country.
The BOC port at the of Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) has coordinated with concerned government agencies, facilities and regulatory agencies to help facilitate the vaccines’ release upon their arrival.
Other ports are also in the process of completing their own respective coordination to discuss protocols, permits and facilities necessary to expedite release of the approved vaccines.
The Bureau also aims to intensify efforts against illegal and smuggled vaccines. It said enhanced data gathering and coordination with law enforcement agencies are underway to impose crackdown on smuggled vaccines.
The BOC has vowed to seize illegal items and apprehend unscrupulous individuals amidst reports of black market vaccines being distributed and administered in the country.
Malacañang earlier said the country initially secured around 25 million doses of Sinovac vaccine, with the first 50,000 doses expected to arrive in February.
The Philippines has also signed term sheet agreements with pharmaceutical firms Novovax, AstraZeneca and Moderna to supply the Philippines with 30 million doses, 20 million doses, and 17 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine, respectively.
The national government has earmarked P82.5 billion for the procurement of Covid-19 vaccines.