Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., the National Task Force Against Covid-19 Chief Implementer and vaccine czar, on Friday assured senators that the country will not compromise its claims to the South China Sea while in the process of acquiring vaccines for the coronvirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
“In this pandemic, the global interest of the global commons is really to save humanity so all countries rallied to support each other. That’s the context we are looking at [your honors], that every country wanted to halt our global pandemic,” Galvez told senators during the resumption of the Senate hearing on the government’s Covid-19 vaccine acquisition program.
Galvez made these remarks after Senator Risa Hontiveros asked him for an assurance that the country’s national interest in the South China Sea, locally known as the West Philippine Sea, will not be compromised in exchange for acquiring vaccines from China.
“Ang nakikita po natin na ang problema natin ngayon (As we see our problem now) is a global menace which is in order to control and contain the pandemic. There are many biases, I’ve been also working with the diplomatic corps and asking for help because there are many countries that are buying more than six times or seven times of their populations, but there are these countries that don’t have even 10 percent of their own, but they are willing to help us,” Galvez told Hontiveros. “I would like to make clarifications, we will not compromise our stake.”
Galvez assured that the selection and procurement of the Covid-19 vaccines will be determined through a “science-based” method and the recommendation of the vaccine expert panel (VEP) as well as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
He added that the government adheres with the concept of equitable access, safetiness and efficacy of a Covid-19 vaccine offered to the Philippines.
Among the Covid-19 vaccines being offered to the country, those from China have come under criticism for their supposed low efficacy compared to their counterparts developed by the West. Also, there are allegations that Covid-19 vaccines from China are offered at higher prices. SOVEREIGNPH