Duterte: Philippines may acquire COVID-19 vaccine through loan

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government would borrow money to fund the purchase of vaccine against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), President Rodrigo Roa Duterte said Monday, as he expressed his gratitude to Russia and China for their offer to prioritize the Philippines once they successfully develop a vaccine.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte in Davao
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte talks to the people after holding a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) core members at the Matina Enclaves in Davao City on August 17, 2020. PCOO

“I would like to thank Russia, President Putin, and China, President Xi Jinping, for offering to provide us with the vaccine as soon as it is possible for distribution to the public,” President Duterte said in a televised address.

“I cannot overemphasize my debt of gratitude. But remember that this is not for free, for after all, they did not develop the vaccine without great expense and also the human effort involved.”

“Bibilhin natin ‘yan. Kaya lang kung mahal, if it is quite expensive then I will ask the — my friend President Putin and President Xi Jinping to give us a credit, parang utang, a credit line but we will pay not in one payment but by installments. Basta ang sinasabi ko magbayad tayo. Hindi ito libre.”

The Philippines will participate in Russia’s Phase 3 clinical trials for its Sputnik-V vaccine from October 2020 to March 2021. The trials, to be simultaneously done in Manila and Moscow, will be funded by the Russian government.

Similar efforts are being done in China, the US and the UK as countries rush to develop a vaccine against the coronavirus. Those countries were reported to be in the final stages of vaccine development.

The country has 173,774 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of Wednesday afternoon, the Department of Health (DOH) reported. The total number of recoveries is at 113,481, while there were 2,795 deaths, it said.

— The Summit Express

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