President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday said he preferred “government-to-government” transactions in procuring Covid-19 vaccines, as avoiding deals with private entities would prevent corruption.

“Maganda sana government-to-government ang transaction. Walang corruption, wala lahat kasi government-to-government. I am offering it to China kasi mayroon na sila,” he said in a recorded address aired Tuesday.

Duterte said he did not prefer transactions with Chinese businessmen: “Diyan magkakaloko-lokohan.”

On Monday, Palace spokesman Harry Roque said Malacañang was supportive of calls for the appointment of a “vaccine czar” to solve challenges on vaccine procurement, storage and distribution.

Roque said the Department of Health, in coordination with the Philippine International Trading Corp., would lead the search for cold storage facilities to be used for vaccine storage.

The government earlier vowed to fund the vaccination of “the poorest 20 million Filipinos” once a Covid-19 vaccine became available.

Duterte said police and military officials and those who had received cash assistance from the government amid the pandemic would be prioritized in the country’s vaccination scheme. John Ezekiel J. Hirro