Duterte approves P2.5 billion to buy more COVID-19 vaccines: Avisado
President Rodrigo Duterte approved P2.5 billion to buy more doses of vaccines against COVID-19 expected to be delivered within the month.
"Our President just approved the 2.5 billion, equivalent to US $56 million, chargeable against the 2021 contingency fund," Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado said at the ''Laging Handa'' virtual public briefing on Saturday.
"This amount will cover the payment of around four million doses of vaccines and its corresponding logistical and administrative cost which is expected to be... delivered this month," he said.
"This is why I released a special allotment release order and notice of cash allocation to the Department of Health for this," he added.
Avisado said the government has a contingency fund of P13 billion for 2021 which can only be used upon approval of the President.
"This will cover the funding requirements of new and urgent measures and activities or projects of national government. That is why it should also be implemented within the year and should be paid this year. This fund will be release directly to the government agencies except to the LGUs and GOCCs (Government Owned and Controlled Corporations) that should pass through the Bureau of Treasury," he said.
Avisado said for 2021 the government has allocated a total of 82.5 billion for COVID-19 vaccination program.
"Of this amount, 70 billion (pesos) was used to acquire COVID-19 vaccines, and the 12.5 billion (pesos) is for ancillary and logistical requirements," he said.
Avisado noted that the funds alloted for COVID-19 vaccines are not enough and the government used its contingency fund to purchase more vaccines.
"In other words, we are not just going to spend 82.5 billion (pesos) to acquire vaccine for this year. This is why even our contingency fund should also be used," he said.
Avisado said the Department of Finance said an additional 25 billion (pesos) are needed.
"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 they are the one who will look for a source for this," Avisado said. Robina Asido/DMS