#PINGterview: ‘Lost Opportunity’ sa COVID Vaccine

In an interview on DZXL, Sen. Lacson detailed how DOH Sec. Francisco Duque III cost the government an opportunity to acquire 10 million doses of COVID vaccines from Pfizer by January 2021.


DOH Secretary Duque ‘Dropped the Ball’:

“As early as July in-arrange niya ang meeting between (US) Sec. Pompeo and (DFA) Sec. Locsin. Naayos lahat, at priority ang PH, at nagkaroon ng meetings with SOF Dominguez for funding. In-assure niya may pending loan, may commitment ang ADB sa atin na magbibigay, at World Babk. So everything was moving smoothly. May isang dokumentong nire-requre ang Pfizer, ang Confidentiality Disclosure Agreement. Ito lang ang dapat pag-aralan bago pirmahan ni Sec Duque. So in the meantime pati ang Pfizer country representative, follow up ng follow up, nahihiya na raw sila Ambassador Jose Romualdez, di pa rin kumikilos si Sec. Duque. Hanggang nakuha ng Singapore, nawalan tayo. At ang pinakamaaga na para magkaroon ng pag-asa uli magka-vaccine, June next year. Yan ang story noon.”

“Ang implication, hindi natin na-grab ang opportunity na pinagkakaloob natin. Hindi tayo mahintay forever ng Pfizer o US government. May ibang bansa na talagang interesado. Yan ang naging problema.”

“Sabi ni SOF Dominguez, pera walang problema. May perang made available diyan. So walang problema. Yun lang, nag-iisang dokumentong initially kailangan pa rin pirmang kontrata and all. Pero hindi uusad kung wala ang hinihingi ng Pfizer na CDA. Yan ang hindi na-deliver ni Sec Duque. Kaya nag-alboroto si Sec Locsin kasi sila naghirap dalawa (ni Ambassador Romualdez), nag-arrange lahat. Tapos isang simpleng dokumento.”

On Claims that the Agreement Needs to be Studied:

Naroon ako na kailangan pag-aralan. Pero ilang buwan dapat pag-aralan yan? Parang ang provision, ang na-stipulate sa agreement nay an, siguro kung tututukan mo yan 48-72 hours tapos na… Timeline nila July umabot ng November. Anong klase, isang document pag-aralan mo ng ilang buwan? Yan ang question ng competence and sense of urgency na tinatawag.”

“Ang naunang negotiation sana January meron na tayo. Deny niya na walang kasiguraduhan. Top level ang usapan. SFA and US Secretary of State. Ano pa bang tataas sa level na pag-uusap yan? Yan ang missed opportunity. Kaya description ni Sec Locsin missed opportunity, sabi ni Sec Locsin somebody dropped the ball. Pag basketball hawak mo ang bola, imbes na shoot mo ibagsak mo, paano ka makaka-score?”

Senate Investigation in January:

“Jan. 11 ang tentative date mag-meet kami as Committee of the Whole. Mag-convene kami at paguusapan diyan, mahimay ano naging story sa Pfizer vaccine. Tamang tama, Jan 11, imagine-in na lang natin na may vaccine na sana tayo.”

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