Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go reiterated on August 5, 2020, his call to the health department and other concerned agencies to prepare a national coronavirus disease (Covid-19) vaccine program to ensure the accessibility and affordability of the vaccine even to the poorest of the poor and vulnerable sectors once it is made available.
“Huwag sana pabayaan ang mga mahihirap. Paghandaan na natin ngayon palang. Magtabi na tayo ng budget para masigurong kakayanin ng gobyerno na matulungan ang pinaka-nangangailangan. Magkaroon po tayo ng plano kung saan dapat pantay-pantay at hindi lang ang mga may kaya sa buhay ang makakakuha (Don’t forget the poor. Let’s prepare now a budget to make sure the government can help those who are really in need. Prepare a plan to make sure everyone, and not only those who have money, can avail of the vaccines),” Go said.
In his fifth and penultimate State of the Nation Address on July 27, President Rodrigo Duterte said the Philippines would likely get Covid-19 vaccines first from China.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III also said the Philippine International Trading Corporation (PITC) will help in the purchase of Covid-19 vaccines.
Dominguez said the country may need to vaccinate for free a minimum of 20 million people.
“If one to two shots are needed, that is around 40 million doses and at around USD10 per dose, that is USD400 million or PHP20 billion,” Dominguez said.
Dominguez added that the economy is already beginning to recover from its lowest point last April to May. Inflation is within target and the Philippines is enjoying the strongest currency in the region.
On top of the PHP20 billion that the Finance Department is setting aside to procure Covid-19 vaccines to cover 20 million of the country’s over 100 million population, Go is also pushing for more funds for the purchase of needed vaccines once it is made available.
“Ito ay upang mas marami pang mga kababayan natin, lalo na ang mga pinaka-nangangailangan, ang mabibigyan ng libreng bakuna. Ito ay alinsunod din sa nais ni Pangulong Duterte na unang mabigyan ng bakuna ang mga (The objective is to help more of those who are really in need [of vaccines]. This is in line with President Duterte’s target to make the vaccines available first for) poorest of the poor and other vulnerable sectors,” Go said.