President Rodrigo Roa Duterte said he is looking for sources to fund the purchase of the coronavirus vaccine once it becomes available for the Philippines.
“I’m looking for money too — balikan ko ulit dito kasi nag-usapan tayo ng pera na may pera ako pangbili [let’s go back to the issue of money, I have money to buy] ng vaccine just in case somebody else would beat the Moderna to the vaccine,” President Duterte said in a televised public address Tuesday.
“Many countries are on the verge of — lumalapit na sila, malapit na sila sa vaccine.
Naghahabulan. But from the — judging from the time the COVID started up to now, I’m sure that they have made a lot of progress in finding the vaccine. Nakahanap na sila. Kailangan may pera ako niyan kasi bili kaagad tayo.”
(Many countries are on the verge of finding the vaccine. They were on a race. But from the — judging from the time the COVID started up to now, I’m sure that they have made a lot of progress in finding the vaccine. They found it. We need to have money so we could buy immediately.)
Duterte expressed his concern over the fund for the vaccine after the government released billions of cash aid to low-income families amid the pandemic.
The President, however, said another option was to borrow money to purchase the COVID-19 vaccine.
Coronavirus vaccine for the Philippines
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque meanwhile said earlier that the government would prioritize the elderly and other “vulnerable” individuals on its vaccination plan.
However, Roque noted that due to the high demand for the vaccine worldwide, the COVID-19 vaccine could not be made available for all, at least at first.
“You can imagine, dahil ito’y kinakailangan ng buong daigdig ay hindi naman kinakailangan na biglaan magkaroon tayo ng vaccine for all,” he said.
The spokesperson also said the government could shoulder the payment for the vaccine for those who cannot afford it.
“Ang mangyayari niyan, those who can afford ay magbabayad, those who cannot afford, gobyerno ang magbabayad,” he said.
(Those who can afford will pay, those who cannot afford, the government will pay for them.)