MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Finance (DOF) assured that the Philippine government has enough funds to purchase millions of doses of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine once it becomes available.
In a briefing in Malacañang aired on Friday, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said they have prepared a financing plan to procure COVID-19 vaccines with the help of the Philippine International Trading Corporation (PITC).
The PITC, an agency under the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) engaged in trading and bulk importation of essential goods for the government, has been tasked to manage the financing efforts for the vaccines.
Researchers and scientists across the world are racing to develop vaccines against the viral respiratory disease as cases continue to spike.
Dominguez said a COVID-19 vaccine could be approved by December this year.
He said the vaccines will be purchased through the PITC and turned over to the DOH.
“Once that happens, the Department of Health now will put in their budget to pay these 400 million dollars or roughly P20 billion,” the finance chief said.
“We can pay them over 2 or 3 years, so babayaran lang nila with the financing companies which is LandBank and DPB, so kayang-kaya ng DPB at ng LandBank na i-finance itong purchase ng COVID vaccine,” he added.
This way, DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez said, the government won’t have to sell properties to finance the purchase of vaccines.
“Kaya po ipinapadaan sa PITC, Philippine International Trade Corporation, dahil para po sila po ang in effect directly na manghihiram mula sa DPB and LandBank,” he said.
“’Yung sinasabi ni Sec. Domiguez, ang may pondo na magpapahiram dito po sa isang government corporation who will execute the importation or the buying ng mga vaccines na ito, para po ang PITC ang magsu-supply sa DOH,” he added.
The vaccines will be administered to the poorest 20 million Filipinos for free.
If each of the 20 million poor Filipinos will need two shots, Dominguez said an estimated P20 billion fund would be needed.
The DTI, however, clarified that this figure is only initial and will be increased based on DOH’s recommendation.
Private companies wanting to secure financing to procure COVID-19 vaccines may do so through the PITC, Secretary Lopez said.
“Maaaring intial po yun dun sa poorest of the poor na communities. Of course, beyond that ang private sector naman po pwede ring makabili padaanin din dito sa PITC para makakuha ng tayo ng volume purchasing o volume discount,” he said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Joan Nano)
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