Duterte wants sure supply of COVID-19 vaccines from US, not freebies — Palace
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte was not asking for free vaccines, but only wanted the Philippines to have a guaranteed share when he threatened to continue with the abrogation of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) if the US could not provide its COVID-19 vaccines to the country, Malacañang clarified on Sunday.
Duterte, in a speech on Saturday night, demanded at least 20 million doses of coronavirus vaccines from the U.S. to lift the termination of the VFA.
“Hindi po, babayaran po natin. Ang problema lang po, yung supply. Ang sinasabi ng Presidente, at least bigyan niyo kami ng supply. Hindi naman tayo nanlilimos, meron naman tayong perang pambayad dyan at babayaran natin,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in an interview over Teleradyo.
(No, we will pay. The problem is the supply. The President is saying that they should at least give us a supply. We’re not begging, we have money to pay for that and we will pay.)
“Sa katunayan, mga pribadong sektor, mga lokal na pamahalaan, sila mismo ay nagbubudget para bumili. Kaya lang, yung supply ang pinaguusapan. So yun po yun. Hindi tayo humihingi ng libre, magbabayad tayo. Kailangan bigyan tayo ng supply gaya naman nung napagkasunduan ng ibang nauna,” he added.
(In fact, the private sectors and local government units are setting aside a budget to procure the vaccines. But the supply is what we’re talking about. That’s it. We’re not asking for free vaccines, we will pay. They should give us a supply just like their agreements with those who secured them first.)
It was in February when the Philippine government, upon instruction of Duterte, sent a notice to the U.S. embassy to terminate the VFA. It was supposed to take effect in August.
However, the scrapping of VFA was shelved for six months in June. The six-month suspension ends this December.
“Kung kinakailangan nilang ma-renew yung kanilang VFA para sa kanilang pangnasyonal na interes, importante sa Pilipinas na mabigay naman sila ng vaccine dahil yan ang kinakailangan natin para sa nasyonal na interes,” Roque said.
(If they want to renew their VFA for their national interest, it is important for the Philippines to secure their vaccines because that’s our national interest.)
“Yan po yung ibig sabihin ng Presidente, na hindi na po siya papayag na para bang tayo’y ina-under lang ng isang dating colonial nating master. So kailangan patas ang relasyon natin at kung hindi mabibigay ang vaccine sa atin, goodbye VFA ang sabi po ni Presidente,” he added.
(That’s what the President meant. He won’t allow for us to be under our former colonial masters. Our relationship should be fair and if the vaccine supply is not given to us, the President says we bid goodbye to the VFA.)
The Inquirer Foundation supports our healthcare frontliners and is still accepting cash donations to be deposited at Banco de Oro (BDO) current account #007960018860 or donate through PayMaya using this link .
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.