MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has allowed the release of advance payments to the developers of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines to ensure that the Philippines will get a supply once these become available in the market, Malacañang said Thursday.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made the announcement following reports on successful trials of the vaccine by several developers.
Roque said the president did not want the country to be left behind in securing vaccine supply.
“So medyo, pumayag na po tayo na magkakaroon po tayo ng advance kasi pag di tayo pumayag baka mangulelat tayo sa mga bansang makakakuha ng vaccine,” he said.
Duterte previously rejected pharmaceutical companies seeking advance payments for COVID-19 vaccines, but Roque said the president changed his mind after seeing the list of countries that paid in advance.
“Alam ko po nung una, ayaw ni presidente yan [… ] importanteng masiguro na mayroon tayong bakuna, pumayag na po siya sa tinawatawag na advanced payment,” he said.
National Task Force Against COVID-19 chief implementer and vaccine czar Carlito Galvez said the Philippines has communicated with countries, including China, Singapore and the United States of America, about the possible procurement of potential COVID-19 vaccine.
Galvez said the country is looking to purchase up to 50 million vaccines which will be funded through various financing modes.
“Kapag nakuha po ang advanced commitment this November, ang target po namin at the end of November, dalawa o tatlong kumpanya ang makukuha natin,” he said.
According to Roque, Duterte has also allowed the emergency use of coronavirus vaccines, and an executive order expediting its use in the country will be released.
“Kung mapipirmahan po ang executive order na ito, 21 araw na lang po, magagamit na rin natin sa Pilipinas,” he said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)