Duterte takes responsibility for COVID-19 vaccine shortage

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte talks to the people after holding a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) core members at the Arcadia Active Lifestyle Center in Matina, Davao City on October 11, 2021. ROEMARI LISMONERO/ PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

PHILIPPINE President Rodrigo Duterte has taken the blame for the COVID-19 vaccine shortage in the country earlier this year.

In his weekly public address, the chief executive lamented that there was no vaccine manufacturing firm in the Philippines, making it difficult to secure enough COVID-19 vaccine doses.

“Kung mayroon man nagkasala diyan, aminin ko na lang, kasi wala na rin naman ako magawa. Gusto ko bumili, wala naman ako mabilihan. Kung makipag-contest ako doon sa mga mayayaman sa bilihan ng bakuna, talagang huli ako (If someone is at fault there, I will admit it, since I couldn’t do anything. Even though I wanted to buy vaccines, I couldn’t buy them. If I competed with the rich countries, I would fall behind),” Duterte said Monday, October 11.

“Kung kasalanan man ‘yan, walang iba diyan kung ‘di ako na. Aaminin ko na ‘yan, ako ‘yung nakaupo ngayon sa opisina ko (If that’s a crime, there’s no one else to blame. I admit it is my fault, I am the one sitting in the office),” he added.

However, Duterte assured that the government now has money to procure more vaccines against COVID-19.

“Fortunately, we have some money. According to (Finance) Secretary (Carlos) Dominguez (III), we have the money. We have the money to pay for the vaccines for all Filipinos,” he said.

He also addressed the Filipinos still hesitant to get inoculated, saying they would get the vaccine while asleep.

“Iyan ang problema ‘yung ayaw, ayaw magpabakuna. Kaya hanapin ninyo ‘yan sa barangay ninyo. Akyatin natin ‘pag tulog at turukin natin habang natutulog para makumpleto ‘yung istorya (That’s the problem, those who do not want to get vaccinated. Look for them in your barangay. Let’s go to their places while they are sleeping and inject the vaccine on them so the story can be completed),” said Duterte.

“Eh kung ayaw, eh ‘di akyatin sa bahay eh, tusukin natin sa gabi (If they do not want it, let’s go to their house, vaccinate them at night)…I will lead the journey,” he added.

The Philippines currently has a total of 87,690,960 doses of COVID-19 vaccines in its inventory, of which 49,673,491 doses have been administered nationwide.

So far, a total of 26,486,522 individuals in the country have received their first dose, while 23,186,969 others have been fully vaccinated. n


Ritchel Mendiola

Ritchel Mendiola is a staff writer and reporter for the Asian Journal. You can reach her at ritchel.mendiola@asianjournalinc.com.

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