PH recovery within sight with ample vaccine supply, says Duterte

Published January 14, 2021, 3:12 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

The country’s recovery is “within sight” as additional coronavirus vaccine supply has been secured as a result of “bayanihan,” President Duterte said Monday.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte talks to the people after holding a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) core members at the Malacañang Golf (Malago) Clubhouse in Malacañang Park, Manila on January 13, 2021.

The President talked about the “light at the end of the tunnel” after lauding the signing of the tripartite deal for the acquisition of 17 million doses of vaccines developed by British drugmaker AstraZeneca.

The second AstraZeneca supply deal involved around 300 private companies and 39 local government units in partnership with the national government. The first deal, signed last November, included the procurement of 2.6 million AstraZeneca vaccines by the government and 30 conglomerates.

“There is light at the end of the tunnel. National recovery is within sight. As we bounce back and heal as one, I commend the business community and the lgus for your ramping of support for our nation’s fight against COVID-19,” the President said in a taped message during the signing ceremony Thursday.

“You have my full support. Together, we can ensure a safe, sure and secure roll-out of our national immunization program,” he said.

The President also encouraged the government’s partners in the LGUs and the private sector to renew their resolve to prioritize the safety and health of Filipinos from vaccine approval to administration.

“Our tripartite agreement is a true showcase of unity, of purpose, and principled partnership benefitting our public. This is bayanihan at work,” he said.

Duterte congratulated the concerned parties involved in the vaccination project called “A Dose of Hope” led by the private sector.

“To all who help and continue to grow this tripartite partnership, maraming salamat po (Thank you),” he said. “We now have the weapon to defeat this virus, the vaccine and let us win the war and save lives and livelihood,” he added.

In his remarks, Presidential adviser for entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion lauded the public-private partnership in the latest vaccine procurement, saying such preventive drugs would help save lives and livelihoods.

The AstraZeneca vaccines are expected to be delivered to the country in the middle of the year.

“(This is) one of the best public-private partnership achieve a common goal of bringing the vaccines to the Philippines especially at times like this. Moving forward, we hope that AstraZeneca will continue to support us as we know the demand for vaccines especially coming from both LGUs and private sector is quite immense,” Concepcion said.

“The Philippines definitely will not be left behind in this fight. We will be vaccinating our Filipino people hopefully starting June, July. Seventeen million vaccines will be signed today, procured, and this is a commitment that they will all be delivered in the year 2021,” he added.

Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. extended the government’s gratitude to AstraZeneca for the vaccine supply deal, saying the partnership would help save more than 8 million lives from the virus menace.

Galvez also said the government’s vaccine procurement efforts are science-based and carried out with the guidance of experts. “This will ensure that all the vaccines that we will be purchasing are safe, effective and affordable,” he said.

The country’s cases of infections have so far jumped to more than 492,000, the second highest in Southeast Asia.

The government has started to ease the country’s movement restrictions in May after more than two months of strict lockdown weakened the economy and left many people jobless and hungry. By reopening the economy, the government aims to revitalize business activity and save and generate jobs.