Duterte just joking, PH doesn’t need to sell assets to afford COVID-19 vaccines | Inquirer News
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Duterte just joking, PH doesn’t need to sell assets to afford COVID-19 vaccines

/ 10:45 PM July 23, 2020
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BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno. INQUIRER file photo / EARVIN PERIAS

MANILA, Philippines — Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin Diokno said Thursday the government does not need to sell some of its assets to be able to provide Filipinos with vaccines for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) once available.

During the online hearing of the House committee on economic affairs, Diokno told lawmakers that the country has enough funds to respond to the pandemic.

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To recall, President Rodrigo Duterte earlier vowed to source out funds, borrow or sell state properties, if necessary, just so Filipinos would be provided with the vaccine.

But Diokno said Duterte was “joking” when he made the remark.

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“Hindi natin kailangan magbenta ng asset para maka-avail [ng vaccine]. Nagbibiro lang po si Presidente,” Diokno told lawmakers.

(We don’t need to sell assets just to avail vaccine. The President was just joking.)

This was not the first time that the possibility of selling assets to purchase COVID-19 vaccine was raised.

In early July, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said that the government is ready to dispose some of its assets to fund the purchase of COVID-19 vaccines once it is available in the market.

“Basta po meron nang gamot diyan sa COVID-19, basta may bakuna, ibebenta natin lahat ng ari-arian ng ating gobyerno para makabili po tayo para sa ating mga kababayan,” Roque said in a televised briefing.

(When a vaccine against COVID-19 becomes available, we will sell government assets and purchase vaccines for our countrymen.)

“Iyan po ang paninindigan ni Presidente—buhay muna bago ari-arian,” he added.

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(That’s the stand of the President — life first before assets.)

As of July 23, there are 74,390 COVID-19 cases in the country, with recoveries at 24,383 and death toll at 1,871.

JPV

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