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Duterte says he now has money for COVID-19 vaccines, wants all Filipinos immunized


President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday declared that he already had the funds to buy vaccines to immunize Filipinos from COVID-19.

In his address to the country, Duterte said that ideally all 130 million Filipinos would be given the vaccine against the deadly coronavirus.

“Nakahanap na ako ng pera. I have the money already for the vaccine, but hahanap pa ako ng maraming pera, because you know there are now 130 million Filipinos,” Duterte said in a live briefing.

“And to me, ideally, all should have the vaccine, without exception. Lahat. Para meron kayong lifetime, whatever, para it can provide immunity. Pang laban ho. ‘Yung body, ‘yung armor mo ‘yung sundalo mo sa katawan mo, malabanan siya,” he added.

The President said the poor will be given the vaccine first using the list from the government’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program.

“Again, mauna ang mga mahirap na walang pera, hindi makabayad. Ang listahan ‘yung doon sa Pantawid… may listahan ‘yan. ‘Yun ang sundin. Then, pagkatapos, to the public,” Duterte said.

Duterte said military personnel and security forces will also be prioritized.

“But para walang taguan, I want my soldiers, pati ‘yung security forces ng bayan mauna rin kasabay ng first batch. Kasi kailangan ko ng mga sundalo at pulis na ready, healthy, at walang COVID,” Duterte said.

“They are really vital to the security of the state. For which reason they should be the first also. Tayo, kami, mga civilian, puwede tayong last,” he added.

The latest data from the Bureau of the Treasury showed that the government’s debt has reached P9.6 trillion as of the end of August 2020.

In August, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said the Philippines will sustain its P3-trillion borrowing program in 2021 with bulk to be financed from local sources.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque in June said the country has secured at least $5.758 billion in loans to support government efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19.

The National Economic and Development Authority has also reported that the ratio of the Philippine debt to economic growth could likely hit 47% this year due to the increased borrowing. -- NB/RSJ, GMA News

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