Senator Panfilo Lacson has challenged the Philippine Government to be more transparent and speedy when it comes to the purchasing of COVID-19 vaccines for the country.

In a tweet, Lacson outlined the P126.75-billion government funding for the acquisition of the jabs, which were loaned to the Philippines by various international lenders with the exemption of the P10 billion budget from the Department of Health’s Bayanihan Project. 

The said loans were obtained from the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank from April of 2020 to March of this year. 

In a statement, Lacson noted that LGUs and the private sector couldn’t wait for the government to take action and took it upon themselves to procure vaccines for their employees. He adds that they even went as far as to offer 50% of their vaccine purchases to the government. 

“Even the private sector and eventually the LGUs, not having the patience to wait for government action, took it upon themselves to procure vaccines for their employees, even offering 50% of their vaccine purchases to the government,” he said. 

Lacson adds that the government, in response, required LGUs and the private sector to go through government procurement, remarking they should have been treated as partners instead.

“Instead of treating them as partners and assisting them, the government regulated and controlled everything by requiring them to go through government procurement,” he shared. 

Lacson warned that if things continue as they are with the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines “we might all die waiting.”

“Unless some drastic and innovative steps are undertaken, we might all die waiting,” he stressed. 

Earlier this year, vaccine czar and Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Carlito Galvez Jr. announced that the Philippines has now secured 108 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines from various vaccine manufacturers, which includes AstraZeneca, China’s Sinovac, the Serum Institute of India, Pfizer, and Moderna. 

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