PH secures 20 million Sputnik V vaccine doses as Duterte, Putin vow closer cooperation in fight vs pandemic

Published April 13, 2021, 8:39 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

The Philippines has ordered 20 million doses of coronavirus vaccines from Russia as the two allies pledged to enhance cooperation in the fight against the pandemic.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and Russian President Vladimir Putin discuss views to further strengthen efforts of the two nations in the global fight against COVID-19 during a phone call at the Malacañang Golf (Malago) Clubhouse in Malacañang Park, Manila on April 13, 2021. They both agreed to work together to ramp up supplies and production of vaccines to meet the needs of our population. Also discussed were defense cooperation, energy, trade and investments, among others. 

The country’s supply order for the Sputnik V vaccines was reached following President Duterte and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s phone call Tuesday on enhancing robust relations. The 30-minute phone conversation was “open and productive,” according to the Palace.

“The Philippines is ordering 20,000,000 doses of Sputnik V from Russia and both leaders stressed the importance of ramping up global production and supplies,” the Palace said in a statement after Duterte-Putin telesummit.

“President Duterte and President Putin underscored the need for continuing and strengthened collaboration to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic,” it said.

According to the Palace, Duterte thanked Putin for Russia’s commitment to bolster cooperation in various areas, including in combatting the coronavirus pandemic.

“Both Presidents discussed the global and regional vaccine landscapes, noting that vaccines such as Russia’s Sputnik V must be mobilized to as many countries as possible,” it said.

The two leaders likewise committed to further enhance cooperative ties as the Philippines and Russia mark the 45th anniversary of diplomatic relations this year.

Both Duterte and Putin recognized the “steady progress” in defense and security cooperation between the two countries, fostered by regular exchanges between defense, intelligence and military agencies. They also pledged “to sustain the momentum” gained over the past five years, the Palace added.

In the telesummit, Putin recognized the two countries could intensify cooperation in other areas.

“President Putin highlighted the positive trajectory of Russia-Philippines relations and emphasized the many opportunities for greater cooperation in the fields of trade and investments, agriculture and energy development even as both countries work on further enhancing political-security cooperation,” the Palace said.

Duterte likewise invited Putin to visit the Philippines “as soon as circumstances allow, which President Putin welcomed.”

Early Tuesday, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said the government is expected to finalize a supply deal with Russia’s Gamaleya National Center for the purchase of 20 million doses of vaccines.

The initial 500,000 doses are expected to arrive in the country this month, followed by two million doses next month.  An additional 4 million Gamaleya doses are expected to be delivered in June while another 4 million shots will arrive in July.

“Baka this coming two to three days ay mapipirmahan na po natin dahil po kasi naibigay na po iyong format na supply agreement. Ibig sabihin, na-clear na po doon sa Russian Direct Investment Fund (The agreement may be signed in the coming two to three days because we have received the format of supply agreement. It means it has been cleared with the Russian Direct Investment Fund),” Galvez said during an online press briefing Tuesday. 

Galvez assured the nation that the cost of the Russian vaccine would be “very affordable.” He said like most vaccines secured by the government, the cost of the Russian drug is estimated between $10 and $12. He admitted that he could not yet divulge the price of the vaccine due to a confidential agreement with the supplier.