President Rodrigo Duterte saw “no major lapse” in the country’s deal with US pharmaceutical company Pfizer for the purchase of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccines, Malacañang said on Thursday.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made this remark after Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., in a tweet, said someone had “dropped the ball” in negotiations with Pfizer on the delivery of 10 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
Locsin explained that he and Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Manuel “Babe” Romualdez had arranged for the delivery of vaccines with help of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as early as July.
Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson later blamed Health Secretary Francisco Duque 3rd for failing to prepare the confidentiality disclosure agreement for the acquisition of vaccines.
Duque denied that he did not act quick enough in preparing the necessary documentation for the deal with Pfizer.
Roque said the President did not see this as a major issue since negotiations with the US drug company are still ongoing.
“I think from the overall demeanor of the President, he doesn’t see any major lapse,” Roque said in a mix of Filipino and English in a Palace press briefing.
He pointed out that acquiring doses of vaccine for the country was tricky since wealthy nations have already bought up at least 80 percent of the supply.
”There was no damage done because our negotiations with Pfizer are ongoing and there’s the reality that even if they say we could have acquired Pfizer vaccines by January, the reality is that wealthy countries have paid for them already,” he said in Filipino. SOVEREIGNPH