Senate President Sotto was convinced by vaccine czar Sec. Galvez about the non-disclosure agreements of COVID-19 vaccine deals.
Amidst questions on the price of COVID-19 vaccines procured by the Philippine government, Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Wednesday confirmed that vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. was obligated to keep silent on COVID-19 vaccine costs.
Sotto told reporters that they’re able to see all the necessary documents and proposed agreements and there were non-disclosure agreements (also referred to confidentiality disclosure agreements or CDAs) mandated by the vaccine manufacturers internationally.
In addition, Sotto said that Galvez assured them through the agreements that there will be “no room for overpricing” by any person, entity, or group as all payments will go directly to the vaccine manufacturers from the lending institution who will also set in place proper safeguards.
Sotto also said that the Senate inquiry into the Philippine government’s COVID-19 vaccination program will still continue on Friday.
“The hearing will push through and hopefully we will be able to elicit enough information to be able to convince our countrymen that the vaccines no matter what brand will be necessary, for us to defeat the virus,” Sotto said.
Sotto’s statement came after President Rodrigo Duterte ordered Galvez to disclose the details of the vaccine deals to Sotto.
Senators have repeatedly questioned why Galvez refused to unveil the prices of COVID-19 vaccines, with Senator Panfilo Lacson saying that he suspected an “attempt to overprice” China’s Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine.
Galvez then explained that the Philippines could lose 148 million COVID-19 vaccine doses it had secured so far if he violated CDAs he signed with vaccine manufacturers.
President Duterte also backed his vaccine czar, saying that it was an “industry practice” to keep silent on prices.