January 24, 2021
President Rodrigo Duterte has vouched for the integrity of Vaccine Czar Carlito Galvez Jr. as he is ready to give up his presidency if the Cabinet official is corrupt.
He made the statement after some quarters have called for Galvez's resignation for his refusal to disclose the prices of COVID-19 vaccines that the government is planning to purchase.
“Secretary Galvez, he is doing everything he can. I'm glad (the issue) already stopped because I will really be frank to them. I said I will bet my presidency, there is no graft (practices) and Secretary Galvez, I know him,” Duterte said in his speech last Friday in Jolo, Sulu.
Duterte said he has been confident with Galvez since the time of the Marawi siege when he was still the chief of military's Western Mindanao Command.
“I was there in Marawi when we were fighting the Islamists and I saw in him (his integrity)...that’s why when he retired, I chose him (to be part of my Cabinet). And now, I gave him this entire (COVID-19 vaccination program),” he said.
Galvez earlier assured the public that there was no overpricing in the negotiations for the COVID-19 vaccines with various pharmaceutical companies.
He has said that they have been trying hard to get lower prices of the vaccines.
The official has said that there is a non-disclosure agreement, including the prices of the vaccines, that the government has signed with the pharmaceutical companies.
As to the local government units' (LGU) procurement of COVID-19 vaccines, Duterte said he is not stopping them from buying the drugs for their constituents.
“Now, let me be very clear… I don’t have any objection if the local government will buy a vaccine for the people. That’s okay,” he said.
Duterte made it clear that the vaccines that the LGUs will procure must have Food and Drug Administration's approval.
“So it’s a mandatory requirement. Other than that, I have nothing to do. That’s a requirement of law, let’s just follow,” he added. Ella Dionisio/DMS
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