PH to ‘ring the bell’ for World Bank to pay for one million more Sinovac vaccine doses coming this month — Duterte

Published March 25, 2021, 12:27 AM

by Genalyn Kabiling

Where are the coronavirus vaccines? The first batch of supplies purchased by the government will finally arrive in the country soon.

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 March 24, 2021. KING RODRIGUEZ/ PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

President Duterte announced Wednesday that the government would use the loans secured from World Bank to pay for one million vaccine doses developed by Sinovac.

These Chinese-developed vaccines purchased by the government would hopefully arrive within the month, according to the President.

“Kung magdating man, mga next week siguro then that would be the time that they would notify the — kayo. Si Secretary (Carlito) Galvez (Jr.) will ring the bell for the World Bank to record it at iyon ang babayaran. Babayaran nila doon sa nabili natin (If it arrives next week, then that would be the time they will notify, Secretary Galvez will ring the bell for the World Bank to know, record it and pay for the vaccines),” he said.

“I think it’s China, one million. Iyong one million, binigay ‘yon (The first one million doses were donated). We are expecting another one million na galing China. Ito kasi parang nahiya na tayo eh. Pinag — bibilin na natin ‘to. So that is the time na… May bakuna? Mayroon. Ito gamit ang kwarta ng tao (We’re a bit embarrassed so we will buy this time. That is the time to ask ‘Where are the vaccines?’ We have them. We will use taxpayers’ money),” he said.

The government earlier allocated P82.5 billion for the procurement of coronavirus vaccines, logistics and other medical supplies.

So far,  the government has secured loans amounting to US$1.2 billion, or around P58.5 billion for COVID-19 vaccine procurement. 

The loans include US$500 million for the Philippines’ COVID-19 Emergency Response Project—Additional Financing (PCERP-AF) from the World Bank; US$400 million Second Health System Enhancement to Address and Limit COVID-19 (HEAL 2) under the Asia Pacific Vaccine Facility of the Asian Development Bank (ADB); and  US$300 million HEAL 2 loan from the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

At present, the President pointed out that the country’s vaccine stocks were mainly donations from China and the World Health Organization-led COVAX facility.

The vaccine supplies donated to the country have reached 1.125 million doses.

“So we have only to thank China and the World Health Organization for helping us out in our predicament at the moment,” Duterte said.

The country’s medical frontliners are given the priority to get vaccine shots although there have been reports that some officials not in the priority list have jumped the vaccine line.