COVID-19 vaccine acquisition difficult even if ‘I buy, steal, or borrow’ — Duterte

Published March 2, 2021, 1:03 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

The country is having difficulty getting more supplies of coronavirus vaccines even if the government would “buy, steal, or borrow,” according to President Duterte.

President Duterte

The President acknowledged that the world’s supply of life-saving vaccines remained thin especially after many rich nations have reportedly cornered the bulk of the stocks of the vaccines.

“Hindi ako puwedeng magsinungaling bobolahin kayo eh (I cannot lie to you or deceive you),” Duterte said during a televised address Monday, March 1.

“Wala talagang supply (There is really no supply). I’d like to say it in — my dear countrymen, ginusto ko man, sabi ko, buy, steal, or borrow, wala akong makuha (I can’t get anymore),” he added.

Given the limited global supply of vaccines, the President pointed out that country was in the same boat as most nations facing difficulty in vaccine procurement.

Duterte previously said the nation would just have to wait for the vaccines after 10 rich countries have acquired 75 percent of the world’s supply of coronavirus vaccines.  United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres earlier criticized the unfair distribution of the vaccines, after 10 nations administered most of the supply.

“Walang bakuna ngayon available, either hingiin mo, nakawin mo o bayaran mo (There is no vaccine available — either you beg, steal or pay for it),” Duterte said. 

“Not only the Philippines, as stated by earlier — binigyan tayo ng worldwide situation ng vaccine. Hirap rin sila. Ang Amerika mayroon pero inuuna nila (We have a worldwide situation on vaccine. They’re having a hard time too. America has supplies but they’re scrambling for them),” he said.

The President however said the country managed to secure initial vaccine supply, citing efforts of the team led by vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr.

He also expressed appreciation anew to China for augmenting the country’s supply with the donation of 600,000 doses of vaccines developed by Sinovac. The supply was delivered to the country last Sunday, which paved the way for the vaccine rollout the next day.

“It is only China who has come up with its commitment to so many nations,” he said.