President Rodrigo Duterte talks with members of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging Infectious Diseases and his Cabinet at the Malacañang Golf (Malago) Clubhouse in Malacañang Park, Manila on Oct. 14, 2020. ROBINSON NIÑAL/ PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday announced that the government had secured money to be used for the procurement of Covid-19 vaccines once they are made available.

“Nakahanap na ako ng pera. I have the money already for the vaccine but hahanap pa ako ng maraming pera because there are already 113 million Filipinos,” he said in a meeting with Cabinet members aired over state-run PTV.

Duterte said the ideal situation would be providing all 113 million Filipinos the Covid-19 vaccines.

“To me, ideally, all should have the vaccine without exception. Lahat. Para meron kayong lifetime… it can provide immunity. Pang laban ho, ‘yung [antibody], ‘yung armor mo, ‘yung sundalo mo sa katawan mo, malabanan siya.”

Duterte asserted anew that poor Filipinos would be the first ones to be vaccinated.

Along with the poor in the vaccine priority list are the military and police.

In July, Duterte said the military would be the “implementing arm” when the country launches its mass vaccination program.

“Para walang taguan, I want my soldiers, pati ‘yung security forces ng bayan mauna rin kasabay ng first batch. Kasi kailangan ko ng mga sundalo at pulis na ready, healthy, at walang Covid,” Duterte said Wednesday.

“They are really vital to the security of the state, for which reason they should be the first also. Tayo, kami, mga civilian, puwede tayong last,” he added.

A Covid-19 vaccine has yet to pass the third phase of clinical trials worldwide.

As of Oct. 14, 346,536 have contracted Covid-19 in the Philippines. John Ezekiel J. Hirro