President Duterte allowed the private sector to import COVID-19 vaccines “at will”.
On Monday, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez, Jr. to approve documents that would allow the private sector to import COVID-19 vaccines “at will”.
In his regular Monday night address, President Duterte pointed out that many private firms were seeking to procure their own supply of COVID-19 vaccines for their employees for the continued operation of their businesses.
“I ordered Secretary Galvez to sign any and all documents that would allow the private sector to import at will. Maski magkano, ilan ang gusto nilang ipasok, okay sa akin. You know the reason why? So the economy can be opened,” President Duterte said.
President Duterte also said that the private sector will be allowed to procure COVID-19 vaccines “immediately.”
President Duterte said that the national government will now allow private firms to procure COVID-19 vaccines because the amount of COVID-19 vaccines the Philippines had received had been limited.
According to President Duterte, one million Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine doses that have arrived in the country on Monday were just enough for health workers.
Private companies were allowed to procure COVID-19 vaccines through a tripartite agreement with the national government and the vaccine manufacturer.
Authorities pointed out that the national government needed to cover the indemnity for any possible side effects of the COVID-19 vaccines, which haven’t been cleared for commercial use yet.
The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), the largest business organization in the Philippines, earlier asked the national government to allow the private sector to import and procure their own COVID-19 vaccines directly from accredited sources amidst the surge in coronavirus cases.