President Rodrigo Roa Duterte welcomes newly-appointed Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Carlito Galvez Jr., as a new member of his cabinet prior to the 33rd Cabinet Meeting held at the Malacañan Palace on January 7, 2019. ROLANDO MAILO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez, Jr. on Monday said the country had saved $700 million as a consequence of the government’s negotiations with vaccine manufacturers.

In a televised briefing with President Rodrigo Duterte and other officials, Galvez said the government was able to bring down prices offered by manufacturers by half.

“‘Yung ginawa po natin na na negosasyon napaka-deliberate po at saka maganda po talaga… And then noong kinompute ko po lahat ‘yung ano, ‘yung mga brand, lumalabas po na naka-save po tayo ng $700 million,” he said.

“Meaning, ‘yung kanyang tinatawag nating offer price naibaba po natin ng halos kalahati. So kaya po ang nangyari po iyong dati po natin, ‘yung plano po namin ni Secretary Duque na 70 million doses umangat po ng 148 million doses,” he added.

In the same meeting, Duterte expressed his support for Galvez and the non-disclosure agreement on vaccine prices.

“Every negotiation ibang agreement na naman ‘yan. It does not involve money. But one thing is certain: you cannot divulge the contract price agreed upon… Nagka-canvass lang ‘yan,” he said.

Reading a Malaysia New Straits Times report, Duterte said: “Breaking the non-disclosure agreement that has been in place between pharmaceutical companies and the government to secure vaccine deal can lead to the cancellation of vaccine delivery, said legal experts.”

Duterte also directed Galvez to “proceed and implement what we planned to do.”

The Philippines has P73.2 billion allocated for vaccine procurement in 2021. John Ezekiel J. Hirro