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Lacson: Duque's failure cost Philippines Pfizer vaccines by January

The failure of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III cost the Philippines a delivery of 10 million coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccines from Pfizer by January 2021, according to Sen. Panfilo Lacson.

Lacson said he talked to Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Manuel Romualdez, who arranged the meeting between US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. in which they discussed the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines.

"Thus, they could have secured the delivery of 10 million Pfizer vaccines as early as January next year, way ahead of Singapore but for the indifference of Sec Duque who failed to work on the necessary documentary requirement namely, the Confidentiality Disclosure Agreement (CDA) as he should have done," the senator said in a statement.

He added that the country representative of Pfizer was even following up on the submission of such documentary requirement.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III had also assured Ambassador Romualdez and Secretary Locsin that money would be made available.

"As we now know, Singapore has the vaccines and we don’t," Lacson said.

He also said that Duque’s reaction that "negotiation with Pfizer is still ongoing after he branded as false Sec Locsin’s statement that somebody dropped the ball is true but such negotiation, according to Ambassador Romualdez, is a renewed initiative after they missed the bus the first time."

“There is no such thing as dropping the ball,” Duque said, responding to Locsin’s comments that somebody dropped the ball on securing vaccine supply from Pfizer that was supposed to be shipped to the Philippines by January 2021.

Negotiations are ongoing, tuloy-tuloy po,” Duque added.

Lacson underscored, "The more important question is, how many lives would be saved between January and when (if at all) the vaccines may be made available again to Filipinos." -- BAP, GMA News