MANILA

Duterte slams critics of vaccine procurement efforts

MANILA. President Rodrigo Duterte. (AP File)

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday, January 26, 2021, brushed off allegations of corruption in the procurement of vaccines against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

Duterte said he wants to talk one-on-one with the critics of the government’s procurement plan to enlighten them about the process and show that their accusations are baseless.

“Ang ano ko lang ganito, mayroong iba diyan because wala silang nakuha kay (vaccine czar Carlito Jr.) kay wala man talaga, walang pera, laway pa lang ito lahat, conversation, istorya, mayroon na nagsasabi may corruption o na they were able to obstruct or prevent corruption because of their timely int... Alam mo nag — mga bulador kayo,” he said in a public address aired Tuesday.

He stressed that Galvez will not be handling any cash. The loan that will be released by the bank will go straight to the vaccine manufacturer.

Duterte said the critics were “muddling up” the matter.

“I take exception to itong statement that they were able to prevent corruption or an overprice because of their vigilance. No. Far from it actually. You were just muddling up — it’s a muddled — ginugulo lang ninyo. Matagal pa ‘yan at dadaan pa ‘yan kay Dominguez and you know how Dominguez is,” he added.

Earlier, Senator Panfilo Lacson said the Senate inquiry into the vaccine procurement last week prevented graft and helped prevent the “people’s billions of pesos” from falling into the wrong hands of corrupt officials.

He cited the “sharp difference” in the prices of China’s Sinovac vaccine, which was reported to cost $38 (or P1,800) in the Philippines compared to only around $5 (roughly P250) based on the World Health Organization’s announcement.

Department of Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire has explained that the price cited by DOH was merely an indicative price for budgeting purposes.

The price of the vaccine will be finalized once a supply agreement is finalized.

There are at least three steps in vaccine procurement, Galvez had explained.

Firstly, the government must sign a confidential disclosure agreement, then a term sheet and, finally, a supply agreement.

"Fake news yung kumakalat na P3,600 per dose daw ang singil ng China. Ang ating presyo, bagama’t hindi pa pwedeng i-anunsyo talaga kung ano talaga ang presyo ng Sinovac ay hindi lalayo sa presyo ng Indonesia na bandang P650 kada turok," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said.

The Philippines aims to vaccinate 50 to 70 million people within the year. The first shipment of 50,000 doses from Sinovac is expected to arrive in February. (SunStar Philippines)


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