Philippines giving preference to vaccines from China, Russia, not from Western countries seeking for advance payment - Duterte
The Philippine government will give preference to vaccines against coronavirus disease that are being developed in Russia and China and not from Western countries whose manufacturers have been asking for down payment first even without the product, President Rodrigo Duterte said.
In a taped televised message on Monday night, Duterte reiterated that Russia and China have offered the Philippines the vaccines once they are available.
"The only country that offered to help initially and said, 'Do not worry when we invent one, we'd give you' was Russia, then China. The good thing about China is you do not have to beg, you do not have to plead. Like in other countries, they want cash advance before they deliver us the vaccine. If that's the case, we all be dead. Every Filipino will die, I can assure you," he said.
"Why? If we can't give cash advance, then there's no vaccine...that's I said one wrong with these Western companies. That's why I said we will give preference to Russia and China provided that their vaccine is as good as any other in the market," the President stressed.
Without naming names, Duterte slammed the Western countries, which were only thinking about profit.
He also said that under the Procurement Law, the government could only purchase goods which are existing.
"This country does not allow you to buy something which is non-existence or to be produced as yet. It's a very exacting law and you must always reckon with, you know, prosecution and going to jail," Duterte said.
He also warned those foreign companies that want cash advance first even without the vaccine yet to return to their countries if they are present here.
"If the companies are here or representatives, go back to your place. If not, I will kick you if I see you. If I happened to have dinner outside and see you somewhere in the hotels, I'll kick your ass," he added.
In a press briefing on Tuesday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque could not name the Western countries or companies which Duterte was referring to in televised message on Monday night.
Asked if the Philippines would continue to participate in the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access facility, he said, "We will continue our membership in the alliance."
COVAX facility is a mechanism designed to guarantee rapid, fair and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines worldwide. Celerina Monte/DMS