Ayala Group orders 450,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine
MANILA, Philippines — Ayala Corp. president and chief operating officer Fernando Zobel de Ayala on Monday said the Ayala Group has decided to order 450,000 doses of vaccines from the United Kingdom-based manufacturer AstraZeneca as part of the private sector’s contribution to the national vaccination program.
At a Malacañang press briefing, Zobel de Ayala said the vaccines worth P120 million will be split between the government and the private sector.
“Government in turn has requested that 50 percent be given for individuals that the government selects; and 50 percent will be given back to the private sector so that we can also provide the vaccine for the people who need it,” he said.
Ayala named vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr., testing czar Vince Dizon and presidential adviser on entrepreneurship Jose “Joey” Concepcion III as among those who would be helping in the acquisition of the vaccine.
Asked why the conglomerate was spending so much for the COVID-19 response, Zobel de Ayala said that they have already spent P12.7 billion as of year-end.
“We’ve never faced anything like this in, at least in our recent history as a company, secretary,’’ he said, responding to presidential spokesperson Harry Roque. “This is a time for everyone—private sector, public sector—to work together. Never have we faced a crisis of these proportions that has produced so much suffering in our country.”
The Ayala Group would also be helping in the distribution of all the vaccines that the government would be ordering, noting that various vaccines have “peculiar requirements” for distribution.
He said Ayala Healthcare Holdings Inc.’s Project T3 and the government were also trying to figure out “how the distribution will take place as this is such an important part.’’
Zobel de Ayala thanked Malacañang for recognizing the role of the private sector in the fight against COVID-10.
“[N]ever in the history, at least in my career, have I seen so much work taking place between the private sector and the public sector. And we appreciate, Secretary Harry, that you’ve also and that the other members of the government have mentioned the contributions of the private sector—that’s greatly appreciated. And this will, of course, continue into next year. It has continued also through some of the recent disasters and typhoons that we’ve had,” he said.
“So there’s a great spirit of collaboration among everyone to make sure that we get our country through this pandemic and through the many different challenges that we have been facing,” he added.
Ayala also painted an optimistic outlook when asked about his views on Philippines’ business climate and whether it would affect the conglomerate’s efforts to help the government while assisting its stockholders.
“I’m cautiously optimistic and hopeful that we will see growth next year, hopefully 5 to 6 percent which will be a very dramatic reversal from what we have seen for this year for understandable reasons,” he said. INQ
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