President Rodrigo Duterte has refused to deal with agents of Western pharmaceutical firms demanding advance payments for the COVID vaccines they are developing.
Not only is it illegal for the government to pay in advance for something still under trial, Duterte said he won’t fall for the Big Pharmaceuticals “scam” of asking Filipinos to finance their research projects.
“If the companies are here or representatives, mag-uwi na kayo sa inyo. If I happened to have dinner outside and see you somewhere in the hotels, I’ll kick your ass. Babastusin ko kayo. Umuwi kayo doon sa inyo, mag-yawyaw kayo…They want us to finance their experiment and the development of their vaccine. I will buy the vaccine from them and inject it into their brains because they are crazy,” said Duterte in a briefing.
“Kung sabihin mo na sige wala pa ‘yung vaccine, there is nothing with finality, and you want us to make a reservation by depositing money, you must be crazy. Hindi ako mag… Bakit ako magbili ng ganung style? Because the Procurement Law of the Philippines does not allow you to buy something which is non-existence or to be produced as yet. It’s a very exacting law and you must always reckon with, you know, prosecution and going to jail. Bakit ka naman magbayad na wala diyan?” he added.
He said the Philippines was fortunate that it has friends like Russia and China who have committed to provide the country with access to their vaccines without asking for any advance payment.
“That’s one thing wrong about the Western countries — it’s all profit, profit, profit. There’s a pandemic and you say that, ‘Okay we have something for sale or something to sell to you’.”Maligaya ka only to collapse when the next sentence is said, ‘Pero magbayad kayo ng cash advance bago kami magpadala,” he said.
“The only country that offered to help initially and said, ‘Do not worry when we invent one, we’d give you,’ was Russia, then China. The one good thing about China is you do not have to beg, you do not have to plead. Like in other countries, they want cash advance bago tayo deliver-an ng vaccine. Eh kung ganun, patay tayong lahat. Every Filipino will die I can assure you,” he added.
Duterte said he believed Russia and China’s vaccine would be as good as any in other markets.