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P2.5B set aside for vaccine purchase in proposed 2021 nat'l budget —Budget chief

The government has set aside P2.5 billion for the purchase of vaccines against COVID-19 in the proposed 2021 national spending plan, Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado said Tuesday.

“We have included P2.5 billion for one million vaccines in the proposed 2021 national budget but the DOF (Department of Finance) has another source to buy the vaccines good for 20 million,” he said in a text message when asked where the government will source funds to buy vaccines.

Avisado issued the statement after President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday said the Philippines will pay for the vaccines that will be made available to Filipinos by Russia and China. Duterte also raised the possibility of installment payments.

Last month, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said around P20 billion may be needed to vaccinate 20 million persons.

He also said the Land Bank of the Philippines and Development Bank of the Philippines will provide the funds for the purchase, which will be done through state-run Philippine International Trading Corporation.

Russian COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik V could be available for commercial use in the Philippines by April 2021, according to the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development last week. —KBK, GMA News