Gov’t identifies P73.2-B funding sources for purchase of COVID-19 vaccines

Published November 24, 2020, 1:18 AM

by Genalyn Kabiling

The government has identified P73.2 billion in funding sources to purchase potential coronavirus vaccines for 60 million people in the country at approximately P1,200 per person.

(photo from Sen. Bong Go)

In a meeting with President Duterte and Cabinet members Monday, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said the government has three sources of funding for the life-saving medicine, such as multilateral agencies, domestic sources, and bilateral arrangements.

Of the P73.2 billion in financial sources, Dominguez said the government could tap P40 billion in “low-cost, long-term” loans from multilateral agencies like the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank.

On the domestic sources of financing, the country’s finance chief said an estimated P20 billion could be obtained from the Land Bank of the Philippines, Development Bank of the Philippines, and other government-owned and -controlled corporations (GOCC).

The government can also negotiate with bilateral sources on vaccine purchase such as the United States and United Kingdom at around P13.2 billion, according to Dominguez.

“Ang total niyan is around P73.2 billion in financing. It’s pretty much, almost fixed. Most of it is already fixed. ‘Yung P13.2 billion hindi pa completely negotiated,” he said in a report to the President.

Dominguez said they estimated the average cost of coronavirus vaccine at around $25 or P1,200 per person. “Some are lower, some are higher so we don’t know exactly how much is the cost. But let say, $25 or P1,200. P73.2 billion is good for 60 million people to be vaccinated,” he said.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said a country may reach “herd immunity” when 60 to 70 percent of the population are vaccinated according to the World Health Organization.

“If we are able to reach that we’re going to pretty much arrest the spread of this. Mawawal ang COVID-19 sa ating lipunan,” Duque said in the same meeting with the President. “We will have herd immunity, that’s our goal mga 60 to 70 percent,” he added.

With Duque’s pronouncement, Dominguez assured that the government has the funds for the vaccine purchase.

The President, in his remarks, maintained that the country’s poor must be given priority in the government’s immunization drive. He said soldiers and policemen must also be given the vaccine because he needed them “healthy” to serve in the frontlines.

“As I have said, try to understand the police and the military. They are really the errand (boys) of the Republic,” he said.