(PAGASA 24-HOUR PUBLIC WEATHER FORECAST as of Thursday, 23 May 2024) Easterlies affecting the country. 𝗙𝗒π—₯π—˜π—–π—”π—¦π—§ π—ͺπ—˜π—”π—§π—›π—˜π—₯ π—–π—’π—‘π——π—œπ—§π—œπ—’π—‘: Butuan City, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur will experience partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rainshowers or thunderstorms due to Easterlies. Possible flash floods or landslides during severe thunderstorms. 𝗙𝗒π—₯π—˜π—–π—”π—¦π—§ π—ͺπ—œπ—‘π—— 𝗔𝗑𝗗 π—–π—’π—”π—¦π—§π—”π—Ÿ π—ͺπ—”π—§π—˜π—₯ π—–π—’π—‘π——π—œπ—§π—œπ—’π—‘: Light to moderate winds coming from East to Northeast will prevail with slight to moderate seas (0.6 to 2.1 meters).

Friday, December 18, 2020



The Philippine government is determined to acquire safe and effective vaccines for all Filipinos, regardless of brand or their country of origin.


With this as our guiding principle, it is our duty as public servants to carefully study and evaluate all documents relative to the procurement and acquisition of candidate vaccines, especially when the public’s health and safety are at stake.  As we take responsibility for our actions, we cannot afford to engage in finger-pointing or buck-passing at this crucial stage. These kinds of discussions are unproductive and will only distract us from carrying out our crucial mandate.


Since we started our negotiations with the pharmaceutical companies and the embassies of their respective governments, all the decisions and actions we have made are in accordance with the careful process of scientific evaluation and selection of the Vaccine Expert Panel.


The process of selection is based on safety, efficacy, cost-effectiveness, the track record of the vaccine maker, complexity of handling and logistics, after-sales and life cycle services, production capacity and early delivery, and long-term commitment. The Philippine National Vaccine Road map also created a Task Group for Adverse Effect to monitor that these vaccines are safe. This is to ensure that everything that we do will redound to public health safety and the lasting benefit of the Filipino people.


This measure is part of the government's due diligence coming from the controversies that the country has suffered from the Dengvaxia issue, which caused unnecessary fear and stigma among the public.


Let me reiterate, no "bus" was missed or no "ball" was dropped because we are focused on our main goal, and that is, to secure an equitable share of the vaccines.


In reality, negotiations on many occasions will reach stalemate and gridlock when legal challenges, public interest and safety are at stake. The CDA or the Confidential Disclosure Agreement is just one of the many phases of the negotiations.


We want to assure our countrymen that we are on track in the implementation of our Philippine National Vaccine Roadmap and there have been maybe some delays in our negotiations but still we were able to make up.  We must learn to face certain realities and that is, we are struggling to get a fair share of the vaccines in the global market given that 80% of the vaccines have already been procured by the manufacturers' country of origin and countries now in the height of the "second wave".


We want to assure the public that all transactions the government has entered into are being done with utmost transparency, sense of fairness, and accountability. The main mode of procurement we have utilized in acquiring the vaccines has been through multilateral arrangements with Asian Development Bank (ADB), World Bank, and other global financing agencies.


Our fund managers such as the World Bank and the ADB have laid out very stringent regulatory requirements and processes we need to follow such as WHO accreditation of the vaccines and Stringent Regulatory Authorization of foreign countries like the US, UK, Canada, or Singapore.


We would also like to emphasize that no government official has access to the funds for vaccine procurement. All deals will be made through international procurement agreements and all payments for the vaccines will be managed by our multilateral partners with the Department of Finance on the lead.


To give you a clear picture of the process of vaccine procurement and allay the fears of some quarters, the Department of Health leads the government’s preparation for the Agency Procurement Request (APR). Meanwhile, as Vaccine Czar, my role is primarily focused on negotiating directly with the vaccine companies to make sure we get the best deal possible in terms of cost, volume, time of delivery, and supply agreement. After the draft contract is agreed upon by parties, it will be submitted to the Department of Finance, which will scrutinize and ensure the provisions in the document are in accordance with the FDA and multilateral regulatory requirements. Once cleared, the contract will be forwarded to our multilateral partners or fund managers for further review and validation to ensure the integrity of the contract.


We are now in the advanced stages of negotiations with various vaccine manufacturers. While our vaccine expert panel and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continuously assess the safety and efficacy of each of the candidate vaccines, we are also trying to get the best price possible to ensure cost-efficiency and equitable access for the poor.


Payments will only be done once all the regulatory requirements for Emergency Use Authorization from FDA and the originating country are secured.


We want to make it clear that the prices released to the media are all commercial prices. These are not the negotiated prices given to us by the companies.  The negotiated price of a dose of vaccine is mostly at a cost since most of the companies believed that during this pandemic our moral obligation and global interest is to save lives and humanity.


Our negotiation is always being guided by the Department of Finance in allocating Php 73-75 billion for the inoculation of 60-80 million Filipinos and which will allow the country to achieve the WHO’s standard for herd immunity.


Likewise, we hope to seal deals similar to the tripartite agreement we signed with Astrazeneca, wherein 2.6 million doses of the vaccine were sold to the private sector at no profit, which were in turn, donated to the government at no cost.


We are eyeing to strike a deal with vaccine manufacturers by the end of this year or early January 2021. We are confident that given the time line of production, initial deliveries will be made by March of next year and the inoculation program may commence within that period. I will say it again that all vaccines will pass FDA approval to ensure safety and efficacy.


The delivery of all vaccines regardless of their country of origin and manufacturer will be made in tranches or on a staggered basis, which is the same mode of delivery for developed countries such as the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada.


Again, we want to assure the public that the government will not compromise our vaccine selection, negotiation, and procurement process. No deal will be finalized without the corresponding regulatory approval from their country of origin and Emergency Use Authorization from our FDA.


The ball is being passed not because there are those who are abrogating responsibility but because we want it to reach the goal --- to close deals and obtain vaccines for all Filipinos so that we can implement our national vaccination program at the most appropriate time.


These unfounded accusations and unnecessary noise that may derail us from pursuing our goal of securing safe and effective vaccines, we call on the entire Filipino people to unite and move forward. Let us focus all our energy to build back a better and stronger Philippines.



President Rodrigo Duterte's clarion call during UN General Assembly’s 31st Special Session guides us in our negotiations:  “If any country is excluded by reason of poverty or strategic unimportance, this gross injustice will haunt the world for a long time.” END