Philippine Government to spend P73.2-billion loan for COVID-19 vaccine procurement

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte talks to the people after holding a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) core members at the Arcadia Active Lifestyle Center in Davao City on November 23, 2020. ARMAN BAYLON/ PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

The government will use P73.2 billion financing coming from different sources to fund the procurement of COVID-19 vaccine as the government targets to inoculate 60 million Filipinos.

During a meeting with President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Monday, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said the government has three sources of funding that include multilateral agencies as well as domestic and bilateral sources.

The government estimates the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the World Bank (WB) could provide around P40 billion low-cost and long-term loans, Dominguez said.

Domestic sources of financing such as Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP), Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP), and government-controlled corporations can provide P20 billion, according to the Finance chief.

The Duterte government will also negotiate with bilateral sources to secure a P13.2 billion loan, Dominguez said, adding it depends on the source of vaccine, possibly Britain or US.

“It’s almost fixed. Most of it is already fixed, 13.2 billion hindi pa completely negotiated. So 73.2 billion pesos,” he told President Duterte.

Based on their estimate, Domiguez said the average cost of the COVID-19 vaccine will be around $25 per dose, per person.

It will be around P1,200 more or less with some vaccine prices are lower, and some are higher, Dominguez added.

“But let’s say 25 dollars or 1,200, 72 — 73.2 billion pesos is good for 60 million people to be vaccinated, around 60 million people. So that is more or less what we have in line.”

To attain herd immunity, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the country has to immunize 60 to 70 percent of the population, citing guidelines from the World Health Organization (WHO).

“So if we’re able to reach that, we’re going to pretty much arrest the spread of this and mawawala ‘yung COVID-19 sa atin pong lipunan.”

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