Duterte approves use of P2.5 billion from contingency fund to pay for vaccines
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the use of P2.5 billion from the 2021 contingency fund to cover the payment for 4 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines and their related costs, Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado said on Saturday.
Avisado said the government would have to spend beyond the P82.5 billion it had allocated this year for its vaccination drive against COVID-19.
Of the P82.5 billion, P70 billion was budgeted for 140 million doses, while P12.5 billion was for ancillary and logistical requirements, Avisado said.
“But we’re not stopping here because we really need more vaccines, and we’re in a race with other countries,” he said at the Laging Handa briefing.
The government needed to tap into the P13-billion contingency fund because the allocations are not enough, he said.
For 4M doses
“In fact, the President has just approved P2.5 billion, equivalent to $56 million, chargeable against the 2021 contingency fund. The amount will cover the payment of around 4 million doses of vaccines and its corresponding logistical and administrative cost, which are expected to be delivered this month,” he said.
He has issued the special allotment release order and notice of cash allocation to the Department of Health (DOH), he added.
He also said that of the P70 billion allocated for vaccine procurement, P59.39 billion has been released to the DOH to finance the loan agreements with multilateral institutions.
The remaining P10.61 billion would be released once there is a special budget request from the DOH, he added.
P55B for booster shots
Avisado also said the Department of Finance estimated that the government might need an additional P25 billion for the country’s vaccine requirements.He said this was in anticipation of the possible expansion of the vaccination program to include those below 18 years old.
“We have to really determine the entirety of the amount that is still needed, more than what we have already approved in the current national budget, in tandem with the Department of Finance because it is the one that will look for the source for this,” he added.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III was earlier quoted as saying that the country would need P20 billion to vaccinate 12- to 17-year-olds, and another P55 billion next year for booster shots.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.