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President Rodrigo Duterte

Duterte expects China, Russia to waive vaccine reservation fee 

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President Rodrigo Duterte expect China and Russia to provide the Philippines with a supply of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) vaccines without asking to pay a reservation fee.

In a virtual Palace briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte is sure that China and Russia will not require the Philippines to enter into an advance market commitment (AMC)-based agreement before providing a supply of vaccine.

AMC for vaccines aims to make the market for vaccines in developing countries more attractive through a legally binding commitment to purchase vaccines according to predetermined terms, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

“We don’t know if any company in the United States will in fact give us without payment of AMC but he’s sure that if it comes from Russia, if it comes from China, we can,” Roque said.

Roque reiterated Duterte’s earlier statement that he does not agree with paying for something that is not certain, even if they were already in their advanced stages of clinical trials.

“Gaya nga ng sabi ng Presidente, hindi siya naniniwala doon sa ginagawa ng ibang mga bansa (na) nagbabayad na (Like the President said, he does not believe in what other countries are doing where they pay) ahead of time in the development of the vaccine to ensure that they get a supply,” he said.

He said Duterte is relying on the Philippines’ close ties with countries in the process of developing a vaccine.

“Ang style naman po ni Presidente kung hindi tayo magbabayad idinadaan po sa pagkakaibigan (The style of the President is that if we don’t pay, he’ll rely on friendship) and that’s why he has fostered ties with all countries that are developing the vaccines,” he said.

Earlier, Duterte said he would buy the most affordable vaccines since the government is already lacking funds.

“Kung sino lang ang nauna magbigay sa atin na mura, doon tayo pupunta kasi (Whoever will give it to us for a cheap price, that’s where we get them because) they know that we do not have enough money. Kung mahal masyado (If it’s too expensive), we will go for the less expensive ones,” he said in a public address on Sept. 6.

Duterte said he will seek a discount from China and Russia on vaccines that each of the two countries have developed and promise to supply the Philippines.

Meanwhile, Roque said the Philippines will continue its participation in the Gavi Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) facility, a global initiative that guarantees access to Covid-19 vaccines worldwide.

The COVAX facility is a mechanism designed to ensure rapid, fair, and equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines for every country in the world, be it a rich or poor nation, to make rapid progress toward slowing the pandemic.

“We will cooperate in connection with all multilateral efforts to ensure equitable sharing of a vaccine if developed,” Roque sai

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