Don’t mind congressional probe, proceed with gov’t vaccine plan, Duterte tells Galvez

Published January 19, 2021, 12:58 AM

by Genalyn Kabiling

Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. must continue the government’s “game plan” on the acquisition of coronavirus vaccines regardless of ongoing congressional inquiry, President Duterte said Monday night.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte (TOTO LOZANO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO)

The President directed Galvez not to mind the investigation and instead proceed with the plan to secure additional vaccine supplies to protect Filipinos from the coronavirus.

“I’m telling now General Galvez ‘yung game plan niya sundin niya (to follow his game plan). With or without the investigation, proceed and implement what we planned to do kasi pinagpaguran mo ‘yan (because you worked hard on it),” he said during his televised address.

“Never mind about the investigation kasi mas lalong matagalan tayo kung nandiyan na ‘yung bakuna magdating na (because it might take long to get the vaccines even if they are already there),” he said.

The government has so far secured 25 million vaccine doses from China’s Sinovac with the initial 50,000 expected to be delivered next month. An additional 30 million vaccine doses from Serum Institute of India have also been secured by the government.

Some lawmakers, however, have questioned the government’s alleged preference for the Chinese-made vaccines, raising concerns about their cost and efficacy.

The government plans to offer free inoculations initially to health workers, the elderly, poor citizens, and uniformed personnel once the vaccines get approval from local drug regulators.

In his pubic address, the President said he would tap the military and police to supervise the smooth and orderly distribution of the COVID vaccines to the people.  He claimed that such government supervision is needed since Filipinos supposedly lack discipline, especially when it comes to falling in line.

“So unahin itong mga frontliners, mga doctors, nurses, kung sino lang may gusto sa Sinovac. Iyong Pfizer, bahala kayo. Nasa sa inyo ‘yan (We will prioritize the frontliners, the doctors, nurses, whoever wants Sinovac. If you want Pfizer, that’s up to you),” he said.

He said the country’s poor and vulnerable sector would also get priority in the immunization drive.

“Lahat na sinabi ko lalo na ‘yang isang kahig isang tuka, unahin natin ‘yan. Eh, wala na ngang katawan eh, walang pagkain. Mas lalong hihina ‘yan kung walang bakuna (We will prioritize the poor. They are sickly and hungry. Their bodies will grow weaker if there is no vaccine),” he added.