President Duterte is amenable to the procurement of coronavirus vaccines even “outside of government structure” to boost the country’s supply of the life-saving drug.
The Presidents said the government was “not forcing anybody” to join its vaccine efforts, citing his preference not to interfere with the acquisition plans of local government units (LGUs) and even the private sector.
At present, the national government leads the acquisition of coronavirus vaccines from suppliers abroad. Local government units and private sector have secured supply deals for vaccines but under a tripartite arrangement with the national government. Some lawmakers have asked the government to let the local officials as well as private companies purchase their own supplies without its interference to hasten the vaccination of Filipinos.
“’Yung naman gustong bumili outside of the, mayroon ‘yan. There’s a move gaya ni Razon. I would say in public for his civic consciousness, kapwa tao niya. ito ‘yung I think maraming mayayaman na magbili para sa kanilang workers (Those who want to buy vaccines outside, there’s a move like Razon. I would say (commend) in public for his civic consciousness. I think many rich companies have bought vaccines for their workers),” Duterte said during his address over state television Wednesday night.
“If there is enough supply at mabili ng outside of government structure, ‘di mas maganda (If there is enough supply that can be bought outside of government structure), that will be better),” he added.
Duterte recognized that many local government units have opted to “go on their own” and buy their supply of vaccines, adding they are free to do so. He assured the national government would not interfere with their choice of vaccine.
“May pera sila at sila ang mamili ng kanilang vaccine or whatever. Basta gusto nila sila (They have the money and they want to choose their vaccine or whatever. They want to do it and they insist that they’d be given the freedom to choose because may pera sila (they have the money),” he said.
“I am now addressing to – myself to the mayors and governors: You can choose any vaccine you like to buy. Wala kaming pakialam kung ano ang pipiliin ninyo (We don’t care about your vaccine choice). That’s one thing. Hindi kami makialam sa lahat ng bagay in the purchase (We will not meddle in the vaccine purchase),” he said.
The President however mentioned that medicines must still pass the government scrutiny to check their safety and efficacy.
“Alam mo kasi may batas tayo na lahat ng medisina of whatever nature and whatever characteristics, magdaan talaga muna ng pag silip sa gobyerno (You know we have a law that all medicines of whatever nature and whatever characteristics would really pass government scrutiny),” he said.
In recent days, several local government units announced the purchase of vaccine supplies for their constituents. The national government was involved in the tripartite deals entered into by the LGUs as well as private sector with the vaccine manufacturers.
At present, the government has yet to issue emergency use approval for coronavirus vaccines. Three suppliers, namely Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Gamaleya have pending applications for the vaccine use before the Food and Drug Administration.