The Palace assured that there is enough funds for the procurement of 148 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines for Filipinos, and that the procurement of these vaccines will undergo rigorous audit mechanisms.
In a press briefing in Malacañang on January 19, 2020, Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque Jr said that the national government has earmarked funds for vaccine procurement, which will come from loans, the 2021 General Appropriations Act, and from Bayanihan 2.
Addressing concerns on corruption with the procurement of the vaccines, the Palace official reiterated President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s message of zero tolerance against corruption. “Siniguro ng Pangulo na walang katiwalian sa national COVID-19 vaccination plan ng pamahalaan,” said Secretary Roque.
The Palace spokesperson also underscored Vaccine Czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr.’s position on vaccine procurement that all agreements on the purchase of the vaccines will follow stringent policies and procedures.
“Sabi pa nga po ni Vaccine Czar, dahil sa kanilang pakikipagnegosasyon sa mga vaccine manufacturer, nakatipid ang pamahalaan ng pitong-daang milyong dolyar ($700-M) sa pagbili ng ating mga bakuna,” said Secretary Roque.
In the said press briefing, Secretary Galvez, who is also Chief Implementer of the National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19, explained that after mid-way agreements with vaccine manufacturers, they found that there are still available funds to allocate for more vaccine doses given the budget for the procurement of vaccines.
This is why the allotted vaccine doses was raised from the initial target of 70 million doses to 148 million vaccine doses, said the Vaccine Czar. The cost of buying these vaccine doses already covers costs for freight, storage, needles, and syringes, said Secretary Galvez.
Sec. Galvez also reiterated President Duterte’s directive that the national government’s vaccination program should not be tainted with corruption. Galvez assured that with the strict credibility, transparency, and anti-corruption policy of the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank, Filipinos can be assured that the funding scheme for the procurement of the vaccines will be efficient and corruption-free.
Aside from the stringent policies of the national government’s bilateral partners, Galvez assured that vaccine procurement will also pass various levels of stricter government accounting, especially since the contracts will be evaluated by Department of Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III.
Also in the same press briefing, Testing Czar and NTF Deputy Chief Implementer Secretary Vivencio “Vince” Dizon assured that preparations for the vaccine roll-out are on-going with a scheduled inspection of facilities for vaccine roll-out, as well as discussions with cold chain facilities.
Secretary Dizon said that the national government is closely coordinating with vaccine companies on the logistical needs to preserve the vaccines once it arrives in the country to avoid losses and wastes. He added that the NTF and the Vaccine Cluster are also closely coordinating with various companies in the private sector that have experience in handling such sensitive medicines and vaccines.
Dizon also assured that the cold chain providers, that the national government is in talks with, have the pharma-grade capacity to store the vaccines. He added that the government is also in close contact with pharmaceutical companies on the proper transport and handling of the vaccines. ### OPS-PCOO