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For transparency: Senators demand prices of vaccines purchased from PH

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A nurse holds a syringe with the SinoVac coronavirus vaccine (COVID-19) before administering it to a Coronavac test volunteer at the Emilio Ribas Institute in Sao Paulo, Brazil December 11, 2020. REUTERS / Amanda Perobelli

MANILA, Philippines Senate to request executive hearing to ask officials to reveal prices of millions of doses of anti-coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines the government will buy from other countries, said Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri.

At the hearing, tomorrow, at an executive hearing so that they do not violate their non-disclosure agreement, we will ask them to disclose the purchase prices of the vaccines, sum jung na babayaran [that we will pay], for transparency, Zubiri said in an interview on the ABS-CBN News Channel on Thursday.

The upper house is scheduled to resume its hearing on the COVID-19 governments’ vaccination plan on Friday.

With some lawmakers and groups questioning the Duterte administrations who seem to prefer the Sinovacs COVID-19 vaccine despite its higher price, vaccine tsar Carlito Galvez Jr. defended governments’ decision to buy vaccines from the company, saying yes offers their vaccines at a cheaper price than those developed by American pharmaceutical firms.

The Philippines has already secured 25 million doses of its vaccine from Sinovac, according to government officials, and that 50,000 doses will arrive in the country by next month.

Galvez did not disclose the cost of the Sinovacs vaccine per dose, but said the Philippines was given the best price by the Chinese government for the vaccines.

Zubiri, however, believes non-disclosure agreements should not be called when public funds are being used.

They claim non-declaration. Yung non-disclosure agreements cannot be used for government funds because we have to take it into account. That is the key to transparency, he said.

We can not say Do not worry, we will take care of it, we know the price, but do not worry, we are not at a disadvantage It is not possible with the government, there is [Commission on Audit] yes tayo, he added.

(We can not say Do not worry, we were in charge of it, we know the prices, you do not have to worry, were not at a loss here. This is not allowed in the government, we have the Audit Committee.)

I trust Sek. Galvez, he is a good man. I am happy to be in charge of the vaccine situation, and the requirement for reputation is to allow ourselves to be transparent about it, the senator added.

/ MUF

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