President Duterte has been “10 steps ahead” while Vice President Leni Robredo was “a bit too late” in terms of preparing the list of beneficiaries of the coronavirus vaccines to be purchased by the government, Malacañang said Monday.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the government has actually identified the recipients of its massive immunization drive as soon as the coronavirus vaccines became available even before Robredo made the suggestion to ready such list.
“We don’t have to adopt the suggestion dahil mayroon na po kaming listahan (because we already have a list),” he said during a virtual press briefing.
“Thank you very much again but again po a bit too late kasi si (it’s a bit too late because) Presidente Duterte po 10 steps ahead,” he added.
Robredo recently suggested to the government to identify the beneficiaries of the potential coronavirus vaccine ahead of the distribution. She said it was important to prepare early for the vaccine distribution to avoid a repeat of lapses that marred the social amelioration program.
She also found it important for the government to ready the budget for the cold storage facilities for the vaccines. She noted that the proposed 2021 national budget included allocation for the vaccine acquisition but not for the related logistics and storage requirements.
Roque maintained that the government has made preparations for the acquisition and distribution of the coronavirus vaccines. Chief implementer of the national plan against the coronavirus Carlito Galvez Jr. has been designated by the President as vaccine czar to oversee such concern, he added.
Under the government’s distribution plan, the priority recipients of the vaccines will be the health frontliners, soldiers, cops, essential workers, and the country’s poor.
“Eto nanaman tayo. ‘Pag sinabi po ng Presidente 4Ps (Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program) beneficiary, ma’am Vice President, mayroon na pong listahan ‘yan (Here we go again. When the President 4Ps beneficiary, ma’am Vice President, we already have a list),” Roque said in a sarcastic tone about the Vice President’s latest suggestion.
“Maraming salamat po sa suhestiyon pero as usual, nagawa na po ng gobyerno ‘yan kasi may listahan na tayo ng 4Ps, may listahan na tayo ng kapulisan, may listahan na tayo ng kasundaluhan (Thank you for the suggestion but as usual, the government already took action because we have a list of 4Ps beneficiaries, we have a list of policemen, and we have a list of our soldiers),” he said.
As to the health frontliners, Roque said the Department of Health (DoH) is also aware of the medical personnel serving in the battle against the pandemic.
Last week, the President agreed to make early payment to the suppliers of coronavirus vaccines to ensure the country’s supply.
Galvez has been allowed to forge advance market commitments with the vaccine manufacturers. The vaccine purchase can be made through options such as a multilateral arrangement with World Bank and Asian Development Bank as the finance manager as well as Private-Public Tripartite Agreement.
Government officials are reportedly in talks with China, United Kingdom, and the United States for possible supply deals. Galvez said the country could be assured of 30 to 50 million coronavirus vaccines by next year.