Malacañang on Monday slammed Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon and the camp of Vice President Leni Robredo for claiming the government did not prioritize the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccine in the proposed 2021 national budget.
Last Friday, Drilon questioned why only P2.5 billion was guaranteed to fund the purchase of Covid-19 vaccines next year when Congress authorized the executive branch to disburse P72.5 billion for the purchase of vaccines in the 2021 budget.
Robredo’s spokesperson Barry Gutierrez echoed Drilon’s statement, alleging the administration has no sense of urgency when it came to the country’s vaccination plan.
In a Palace press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque asked the two Liberal Party members to refrain from politicking, saying elections are still too far away.
He also said the remaining P70 billion needed for Covid-19 vaccines could easily be sourced from loans or excess non-tax revenue collections.
“Senator Drilon, Vice President, elections are too far away, stop politicking. We have repeatedly said that we will be able to loan from multi-lateral sources, bilateral sources for the needed P72.5 billion,” he said in Filipino.
Roque said the funds for Covid-19 vaccines were included in the 2021 budget to assure funding.
Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr., for his part, reiterated that the government can enter into a multilateral arrangement with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to facilitate the country’s vaccine procurement. SOVEREIGNPH