Villanueva seeks transparency on vaccine procurement as Senate convenes Committee of the Whole for oversight hearing
Senator Joel Villanueva sought more transparency from the government particularly on the details on vaccine procurement such as “the price per dose and how much the minimum 140 million doses would cost.”
If securing vaccines requires prepayment, then the government should adopt a “multi-year budgeting approach, and not rely on annualized financing,” said Villanueva, who is set to attend the Senate Committee of the Whole hearing into the government’s vaccination program on Tuesday morning.
“Kung aabutin po ng ilang taon ang pagbabakuha, mas mainam na gawin na rin nating multi-year ang appropriation, or at the very least, ang projection,” said Villanueva, who last week sought to convene the COVID-19 Vaccination Program oversight committee provided in Republic Act No. 11525.
“What is important is that we have a big picture of our amortization schedule, so to speak. Hindi po pwede yung pa-tingi-tingi. Hindi rin po nakaasa sa kalendaryo na sa isang fiscal year ito lang ang pondo,” he said.
But in calculating the total vaccination cost, price per dose is the key baseline data, he said.
“Magkano po ba ang Moderna? Magkano ang Sinovac, ang Sputnik? Ang Pfizer? Then we multiply it with the volume required, plus the cost of administering them. Getting this information is the first step in appropriating funds. Hindi po akma ang ‘PM is the key,’ pagdating sa usaping ito,” he said.
He said the executive branch must provide these data to Congress if it wants its request to add P25 billion to its current year’s P82.5 billion vaccination budget be acted upon immediately.
“Nais po nating malaman kung naubos na po ba yung P10 billion para sa bakuna sa ilalim ng Bayanihan 2, at kung nagamit na po ba ang ating inutang na P58.4 billion mula sa mga multilateral lenders para sa pagbili ng bakuna."
“The rule is that they must report first before we replenish,” he said. “Nais po nating malaman kung naubos na po ba yung P10 billion para sa bakuna sa ilalim ng Bayanihan 2, at kung nagamit na po ba ang ating inutang na P58.4 billion mula sa mga multilateral lenders para sa pagbili ng bakuna."
But for Villanueva, the most important question is “how fast will the additional funding plug our huge vaccine deficit?”
He said there is a wide gap between vaccine supply projections and actual delivery, citing this month’s slippage, from the forecast of “7.8 million doses to 3.4 million doses.”
“Nais rin po nating tiyakin kung darating ang inaasahang 13.5 million doses ngayong Hulyo, maging ang 15-20 million doses sa Agosto at Setyembre,” he said.
He said if the recent daily average of 112,621 jabs does not go up, it would take about 3 years and 2 months to fully vaccinate 70 million, for the country to attain herd immunity.
“Kung 100 milyon naman po ang target, karagdagang 1 and a half years o end of 2025 pa bago natin,” he said.
"Kung downsized na po ang target to 58 million Filipinos, more or less dapat makakuha po tayo ng 116 million doses bago matapos ang taon," Villanueva said, referring to the vaccination target of the government’s new "population protection" strategy.