Malacanang has assured the public that the government will have enough funds to purchase vaccines for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
“I have been saying repeatedly that we can seek loans from multilateral sources for the P72.5 billion needed for the Covid-19 vaccines,” said Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque Jr. in a Palace briefing on Monday.
The Palace official stressed that all of the P72.5 billion is included in the national budget even if the rest of the amount will still have to be loaned.
To ensure transparency in accessing funds for the vaccine, Vaccine Czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. explained that the Asian Development Bank (ADB) will act as the fund manager and fund procurement agency. This means that procurement of the vaccines will be through a multilateral system, he said.
Galvez further pointed out that the Philippines needs to close negotiations with advance market commitments this December and January next year.
Galvez further explained that what the government will use in its initial vaccine procurement is the $1 billion that Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez allocated for the vaccines back in July upon the instruction of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Galvez said that the money will come from the ADB plus funds from the Development Bank of the Philippines, Landbank of the Philippines, and from government-owned and controlled corporations.
Roque also pointed out the importance of Duterte’s independent foreign policy in ensuring access to the vaccines.
Also, the Chinese government pledged to make its vaccines a global public good, and assured its neighbors and allied countries that the vaccines will be made available to them, said Philippine Ambassador to China Jose Santiago “Chito” Sta. Romana.
Sta. Romana added that three Chinese companies were already granted emergency use authorization (EUA) since July 2020 in China, and that an issuance for the general use of the vaccines is expected to be released by the Chinese government before the end of this year. CURRENTPH