President Rodrigo Duterte has finally broken his silence on the issue of the Philippines’ vaccine funds and the acquisition of COVID-19 jabs.
The Philippine Government has been plagued with questions from common folk and politicians alike, specifically about the whereabouts of the loans acquired through different multilateral lenders – the World Bank (WB), Asian Development Bank (ADB), and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)
Last week, Senators Panfilo Lacson and Risa Hontiveros were among those who inquired about the government’s handling of the funds and the vaccination scheme.
In a press briefing on Monday (March 22), Duterte said the government does not have the money. He mentions that the administration has not used “a single centavo” of the funds allocated for the vaccines, noting the money is still with the banks and that it’s them who will be paying for the vaccines once ordered by the government.
“Ang buong akala kasi nila yung pera na bilyon bilyon na ibinigay nila nandiyan na kamay natin, that is cold cash. Sinasabi na natin time and again that the money is with the lending bank still so we have not used any single centavo because as a matter of fact about the vaccines that we are going to buy pero donated ito lahat sa ngayon,” he said.
For its initial vaccination program, the government is utilizing 600,000 donations of COVID-19 jabs from Chinese drug manufacturer Sinovac and 525,000 received from the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) COVAX facility.
As part of the vaccine rollout, a total of 1.7 million Filipino medical frontliners is to be given vaccination priority. On Monday (March 22), the Department of Health announced that it has already vaccinated 336,556 frontline health workers since the program started this month.
Orders for a new batch of Sinovac-made vaccines, CoronaVac, are scheduled to arrive in the country this week. According to Duterte, these vaccines will be the first jabs to be paid by the banks.
“It’s the bank who will pay upon our advice na nadeliver na yung bakuna. Hindi tayo ang magpunta, sila through paperwork,” Duterte remarked.
In addressing claims of corruption, Duterte said that the people should let their “minds go easy” as the said funds are not susceptible to any form of dishonesty.
“If you are afraid of corruption let your mind go easy because these things are not susceptible to anything. The money is in the hands of the bank and they collect, yung nagpabili sa’tin ng bakuna, from the bank,” he stressed.
You can watch President Rodrigo Duterte’s press briefing on Monday below.
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte convenes with several Cabinet members to discuss the updates on the government’s latest response to the public health crisis brought by the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and other important matters confronting the nation.
As data from the Department of Health (DOH) show an increasing number of COVID-19 cases, the government is enforcing stricter health measures in the National Capital Region (NCR) and in the adjacent provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal effective 22 March – 4 April 2021. These measures cover essential travels, public transportation, mass gatherings and curfew, among others.
President Duterte calls on all his ‘kababayans’ for their continued support and reminds his countrymen to stay safe, strong and healthy in order to protect themselves and their communities against the virus.
Presidential events live streamed by the Presidential Broadcast Staff – Radio Television Malacañang (RTVM) can be accessed by the public and media entities. RTVM is not responsible for any technical problems that affect the live streaming or broadcast quality re-streamed by the aforementioned parties.
Posted by Radio Television Malacañang – RTVM on Monday, March 22, 2021
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