Drilon wants full accounting of govt.'s budget for COVID-19 vaccines

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 13) — Senator Franklin Drilon is seeking transparency over the government's pricing of COVID-19 vaccines by asking for a full accounting of the budget for their procurement.

In a statement on Sunday, Drilon said he's asking for a full accounting of the P82.5-billion COVID-19 procurement budget before the government can ask for more funds. He also urged more transparency “about the pricing of the vaccines in order to strengthen public confidence in the vaccination program, which he described as 'usad pagong' [moving at a slow pace]."

Drilon said the public deserves to know how much has been spent to purchase the vaccines as the funds used were borrowed. He added that questions like how many vaccines are needed, and how many have been bought and donated must be answered.

The Senate Committee of the Whole will resume its hearing to raise questions on the budget allocation for the pandemic response, following the request of Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado to add ₱25 billion more on top of the ₱82.5 billion already intended for the purchase of COVID-19 vaccines under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or Bayanihan 2.

Drilon has asked vaccine czar Carlito Galvez, Jr. to provide the Senate with a consolidated report on vaccine procurement by the national government, local government units and the private sector.