Lacson: Existing borrowings can cover budget needed for minors’ vaccination

Published June 18, 2021, 2:14 PM

by Hannah Torregoza 

Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson on Friday said the P57.3-billion worth of loans the government has successfully secured can already cover the P25-billioin budgetary requirement for the vaccination of minors.

With these borrowings, Lacson said there may not be any need for the government to look for an additional P25-billion to finance the COVID-19 jabs for persons below 17 years old.

The senator said figures from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) show that only P30.462-billion might be needed to inoculate 68.2 million adult Filipinos for this year.

As of March 28 this year, he noted the Philippines’ midyear population will reach 110,198,654 by July 1.

“Of this, 62 percent or 68.323 million are adults. If we multiply this by P446 per dose, including logistical costs, we will need about P30.472-billion to inoculate our adult Filipinos,” Lacson explained.

“Thus, the difference of P26.83-billion is more than enough to cover the P25-billion requirement to procure the vaccines for our minors,” he added.

“Based on these figures, we may not need to look for an additional P25-billion since it is amply covered by the ‘excess’ in borrowings,” he pointed out.

Even if the government were to inoculate 83.8 million adults based on the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF)’s figures, it would only need P37.374-billion or far below the P57.3-billion in borrowings.

He also pointed out vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. himself had stated that the Philippines has 68 million free doses of vaccines, including 44 million from the COVAX facility and 24 million from two brands.

“Every peso counts and must be accounted for, especially during these difficult times. That said, the IATF and DOF should further clarify the figures that they presented during last Tuesday’s Committee of the Whole hearing,” Lacson stressed.