P72.5 billion COVID-19 vaccination program budget enough — Palace
MANILA, Philippines — The final P72.5-billion allocation for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccines under the proposed P4.5-trillion 2021 national budget is enough for the targeted vaccination of 60 million Filipinos, Malacañang said Thursday.
Under the bicameral conference committee-approved version of the 2021 budget, P2.5 billion of the allotment for the vaccines are programmed funds lodged with the Department of Health (DOH), while the other P70 billion is under unprogrammed appropriations.
This, according to presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, is already sufficient even as it is slightly lower than the P83 billion allotted by the Senate version of the budget bill.
“Tingin ko po sapat po iyan kasi nga sa scheme na ipapatupad ng DOF (Department of Finance) hindi pa nga po galing sa national appropriations iyong P72 billion na initially kinakailangan natin para sa 60 million katao na mababakunahan,” Roque said in his regular press briefing.
(I think the amount is enough. Under the DOF scheme, the P72 billion will not come from the national appropriations which we initially need for the vaccination of 60 million Filipinos.)
Aside from the allotment, the Palace official said the government may use loans to vaccinate the remaining population against the coronavirus disease which has already infected over 444,000 people nationwide.
“Bukod pa po diyan sa naappropriate na ng Kongreso, nariyan pa rin po iyong mga pwede nating utangin na napakaliit naman ng interest rates sa mga multilateral lending agencies kagaya ng ADB (Asian Development Bank) at World Bank at saka sa mga mismong bansa na nagmamanufacture ng bakuna,” he said.
(Aside from the fund approriated by Congress, we can also take take. out loans with minimal interest from multilateral lending agencies like the ADB and World Bank, and even vaccine-manufacturing countries.)
According to Senator Sonny Angara, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, at least P10 billion funds are available for vaccine procurement under the Bayanihan To Recover As One Act or Bayanihan 2.
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