Duterte on PH’s ‘greatest disadvantage’ vs Covid-19: ‘Hindi tayo mayaman’ | Inquirer News
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Duterte on PH’s ‘greatest disadvantage’ vs Covid-19: ‘Hindi tayo mayaman’

By: - Reporter / @DYGalvezINQ
/ 11:57 PM February 01, 2021

DRY RUN Village health workers stage a dry run of COVID-19 vaccination in an inoculation hub at Lakeshore Mega
Complex in Lower Bicutan village, Taguig City, on Wednesday in preparation for the arrival of vaccines in February. —RICHARD A. REYES

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines’ “greatest disadvantage” in its fight against the Covid-19 pandemic is its lack of funding as compared to other countries, especially now that it is procuring vaccines against the deadly respiratory disease, President Rodrigo Duterte said on Monday.

He said the fight against Covid-19 involves competing with other countries for medical supplies such as vaccines and medicines.

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“Alam mo itong problema talaga ng Covid hindi ganoon kadali. For one, ang greatest disadvantage natin is hindi tayo mayaman at ito labanan ito ngayon sa highest bidder nga,” he said in his weekly public address.

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(This problem of Covid is not so easy. For one, our greatest advantage is that we are not rich and it is a fight on who gets to bid the highest.)

“Kung sino ‘yung makabayad ng una, mag-deposito na, tapos lalo na kung ‘yung bansa na ‘yon ang humihingi ng supply ng vaccine is the country where the factory is located nandiyan, nauuna talaga sa kanila,” the President added.

(It is a matter of who gets to pay first for the vaccines, who gets to make the deposits, and if the country that is asking for the supply of the vaccine is hosting a vaccine factory. They will get the vaccines first.)

He urged the public to “just stick with” vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. in the procurement of vaccines. He also assured that the country has funds to pay for the vaccines, courtesy of loans from the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank.

“Iyong mga price-price haggling lang ‘yan eventually ‘yung mag-taper off ‘yan into a uniformity sa prices. Hindi mo naman sabihin na sa isang lugar sa Pilipinas ipagbili mo ng limang daan tapos ‘yung iba, ipagbili lang ng one dollar or five dollars. Hindi ganoon eh,” Duterte said.

(There is price haggling now but eventually, these will taper off into uniformity of prices. You can’t say that in the Philippines a vaccine can be sold for P500 while in other places it can be bought for one dollar or five dollars. It’s not like that.)

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque earlier insisted that the Philippines is not left behind by its Asian neighbors with its planned vaccine roll-out next month, pointing out that Singapore, India, and Indonesia have only started with their vaccination drives.

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Roque said Singapore has so far vaccinated 1.98% of its population; India, 0.27%; and Indonesia, 0.19%.

“Ang ibig sabihin po nito, hindi po tayo nangungulelat. Kung magsisimula po tayong magbakuna ng Pebrero, halos kasabay po natin ang halos lahat na karatig-bansa natin,’ he said.

(This means, we are not behind. If we start in February, our vaccination schedule is almost the same as with our neighboring countries.)

/MUF

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