Confident that China will prioritize the Philippines and a COVID-19 vaccine will be developed by December, the Duterte administration said it has enough funds to purchase and distribute vaccines for free to 20 million Filipinos once they become available. “I promise you by the grace of God, I hope by December we will be back to normal,” said President Rodrigo Duterte.

Tasked by Duterte to take care of the funding, Department of Finance (DOF) Secretary Carlos Dominguez III detailed how the Philippines plans to procure 40 million doses of vaccines at an estimated cost of P20 billion. “We have a plan. We can execute it as soon as the Department of Health (DOH) chooses which vaccine or vaccines they want. Certainly, by late this year, if it’s available, we can already buy it,” said Dominguez.

“The DOH will put in their budget to pay this $400 million or roughly P20 billion. We can pay that over maybe two or three years. Babayaran nila (they will pay) through the financing company, which is Landbank and DBP (Development Bank of the Philippines). That is totally available, the financing is available for this program,” he added.

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