23 April 2021 – Following President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive to set up a green lane for faster permit processing of local COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers to reduce dependency on imported jabs, Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) Director General Jeremiah Belgica urged the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to target its completion within seven (7) working days.

The ARTA chief raised this in a meeting held Friday morning with various pharmaceutical companies.

Here, Engr. Higinio Porte of the Philippine Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association informed the body that at least Unilab and Lloyd Laboraties expressed interest to install a vaccine manufacturing facility. However, he admitted that existing regulatory requirements make it difficult for them to do so.

Belgica previously noted that the creation of a green lane is not a suggestion but clearly a Presidential directive that needs to be carried out immediately.

“The President will not settle for anything less…We are in an emergency, every minute counts, so we must act like it is an emergency. The fact that everybody is here means the commitment is there. Ipakita ho natin na kaya natin. Let’s make it happen in record time,” the ARTA czar said during an initial briefing on green lane with the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Streamlining of Government Processes (OPASGP), FDA, and other key stakeholders from both public and private sectors yesterday.

“By creating the green lane, we prevent more people getting sick, people dying, people losing jobs. I convey my support to FDA, please do it in abnormal times because what you do is for the betterment of the people,” OPASGP Secretary Leoncio “Jun” Evasco added.

For his part, ARTA Deputy Director General Ernesto Perez recommended the establishment of a One-Stop-Shop for the convenience of companies willing to invest in local vaccine manufacturing facilities.

“We [ARTA] want more detailed inputs coming from you [local pharmaceutical companies] so whatever your concerns, we will be able to raise these to the government agencies concerned,” Perez said.

ARTA will be holding another meeting next week where FDA is expected to present timeline, documentary requirements, and process for green lanes for local manufacturing and importation of vaccines.