Gov’t has money to fund anti-COVID-19 mass vaccination, says President Duterte

The government has secured the source of fund for the acquisition of vaccines for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), President Rodrigo Roa Duterte said on Wednesday, adding he wants to have more money for the inoculation of the entire population.

“I have the money already for the vaccine but hahanap pa ako ng maraming pera because you know there are now 113 million Filipinos,” President Duterte said in a televised address.

“And to me, ideally, all should have the vaccine without exception. Lahat, para mayroon kayong lifetime — whatever, but it can provide immunity.”

The President said that the first to receive the vaccine, which will likely be sourced from Russia or China, would be beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) and those who received the government’s cash aid.

Frontliners such as the members of the police and the military will also be prioritized, he said.

Meanwhile, President Duterte reported that Russia has pledged to build a pharmaceutical facility in the country.

The President said that Igor Khovaev, the outgoing Russian ambassador to the Philippines, told him about Russia’s intention to invest in the Philippines.

“I just had a talk with the Ambassador of Russia, the outgoing, and we had a serious one-on-one talk and they said that Russia is coming in; mayroon lang sigurong tinatapos and they would want to establish here,” President Duterte said.

“Gagawa sila ng planta — pharmaceutical, pharmaceutical lang naman, and ang vaccine papasok rin sila.”

Russia and the Philippines have agreed for the conduct of phase three clinical trial for Russia’s Sputnik V, which was expected to take place simultaneously in the Philippines and Russia from October 2020 to March 2021.

The President has expressed his trust on the vaccines being developed by China and Russia saying the country will likely source the vaccine against COVID-19 from those countries.

A total of 346,536 COVID-19 cases has been recorded in the Philippines, based on the data from the Department of Health (DOH). Some 6,449 patients died while 293,860 recovered from the illness caused by the virus. (PND)