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Lacson Does the Math, Asks: Does Gov't Need More Money for Vaccines?

Senator seeks transparency from the Palace.
by Erwin Colcol
Just now
Photo/s: shutterstock

Sen. Panfilo Lacson on Tuesday demanded transparency from the government on the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines as he questioned the need for an additional P25 billion to purchase more doses

Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado earlier said there is a need for an additional P25 billion to fund the purchase of COVID-19 vaccines, on top of the existing P82.5 billion under the Bayanihan to Recover As One Act for vaccine procurement.

Lacson, who earned a reputation of being the "watchdog" of the national budget, said this could either result in an oversupply of vaccines or be lost to corruption.

He estimated that if the total amount of P107.5 billion would be used to buy Moderna vaccines at $26.83 per dose, the government would be able to procure 83.78 million doses.

If the same amount would be used to buy Sinovac at P683 per dose, it would purchase 157 million doses good for over 75 million Filipinos, more than the target of 70 million vaccinations to reach herd immunity, he said.

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"Parang sobra-sobra naman yata ang kwentada, unless they know something that we don't know," Lacson said in a virtual interview with reporters.

"Hindi naman nila pera ito e, pera ng mga mamamayan ito na ipambibili ng bakuna. Kung masasayang yung pera o magagamit lamang sa katiwalian, bakuna pa man din ang pinag-uusapan sa pandemya, huwag naman," he added.

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If the government would push through with adding P25 billion to the vaccine procurement fund, Lacson said they should explain before the Senate how they will do it.

"If not, they should exercise restraint sa paggastos kasi nga gahol na gahol na nga tayo sa ating resources. Hindi sa nambibintang tayo. Nag-iingat lang tayo dahil after all, pera nating lahat yan, hindi nila pera yan," he said.

Avisado also earlier said President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the release of the additional P2.5 billion from the 2021 contingency fund to procure four million doses of COVID-19 vaccines.

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