Duterte says gov’t to allot more vaccines for provinces amid COVID-19 surge

Published June 8, 2021, 10:20 PM

by Raymund Antonio

Major provinces such as Cebu, Cagayan, and Zamboanga will start to receive bigger COVID-19 vaccine allotments because of the spike in positive cases, President Duterte said on Tuesday, June 8.

President Rodrigo Duterte (Malacañang photo)

“May spike eh. Ayan, hindi kasi naniniwala. Hawaan nang hawaan (There’s a spike. There, because they don’t believe. They keep on infecting each other),” the Chief Executive said during an interview with Kingdom of Jesus Christ Pastor Apollo Quiboloy on SMNI.

“Iyon ang mahirap nga eh, ni wala itong katapusang purgatoryo natin na ‘to. May bagong variants na. Mabuti na lang siguro pwede pang bakuna (That’s the difficult part, it feels like there is no end to this purgatory. There are new variants. It’s a good thing that the vaccines are effective),” Duterte added.

The majority of the country’s COVID-19 vaccine supply goes to what is now called the National Capital Region Plus (NCR Plus), which includes the provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, and Bulacan, because it is the epicenter of the virus outbreak.

But now, with major provinces also suffering from outbreaks since the discovery of new strains and variants of the SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, the President said the next batches of vaccines will be allocated to these regions.

Duterte, in a television interview by Pastor Quiboloy, said that the government is paying for the vaccines right now with the loans granted by the World Bank (WB) and the Development Bank of Asia (DBA).

He assured the pastor that they “do not touch the money that is already intended for (a) specific purpose.”

The President explained that the lenders pay the vaccine manufacturers directly, denying the allegations by the opposition that the money is going somewhere else.

“Itong mga oposisyon akala nila (This opposition they think) where is the money, where is the vaccine? Nag-order lang kami, Pastor (We just order, Pastor),” Duterte said.

He stressed that there’s a problem in the vaccine supply previously but it is better now because the United States will sell its residual stock.

“Pero tayo, one thing dito sa atin is dumarating na in bulk, so binabayaran natin. But ang bayad natin hindi tayo makawak ng pera (But us, one thing here is that it is arriving in bulk, so we’re paying. But the payment we don’t handle the money). We do not get the money into our funds,” he explained.

The country’s vaccine czar, Carlito Galvez Jr., who is also the chief implementer of the National Task Force Against COVID-19, said that 11 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines are set to arrive this month while 10 million will arrive in July.

These are part of the government’s COVID-19 vaccine procurement program, as well as the tripartite agreement entered into by private organizations.