PRESIDENTIAL Adviser for Entrepreneurship and Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion formally inked an agreement with vaccine czar Sec. Carlito Galvez Jr., Lotis Ramin, country president of AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals Philippines Inc., and over 30 private sector representatives to procure 2.6 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine from the British drugmaker.
The vaccines will be donated to the Department of Health, which will handle the deployment. Half of the donations will be set aside for government frontliners, while the other 50% will cover employees in the private sector – both regular and contractual – provided they follow the government’s priority sectors for distribution.
“With all these announcements, our Filipino people can be assured that we will not be left behind. With the efforts of Sec. Galvez in bringing the vaccine to this country, we will soon see this pandemic disappear,” said Concepcion, adding that he expects the vaccines to arrive by May or June 2021.
“If the country is to survive, we must rely and take care of each other, support each other. President Duterte has emphasized that the implementation of the vaccination component of our COVID-19 response is a top priority of his administration. The commitment we are making here today is a result of the government’s efforts to provide all Filipinos access to a safe, effective, and affordable vaccine,” said Sec. Galvez.
“We are working closely with regulatory authorities across the globe, and we really hope to be able to bring a solution here to end the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Ramin.
AstraZeneca has a zero-profit program in 2021, which means the vaccines are priced as low as possible. The cure is expected to cost around PHP500 ($10) for two doses.
“Our commitment extends beyond our employees and their dependents, to the community at large, prioritizing those who are in need. Our task extend[s] beyond procuring vaccines to helping optimize the end-to-end supply chain, distribution, and logistics,” said Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, chairman & CEO of Ayala Corporation
“The procurement of the vaccine, albeit the small quantity relative to the overall need, is the first step towards recovery. Jointly, we need to work on controlling the spread of COVID-19 while at the same time, ensuring that we are able to function effectively [and] efficiently as an economy. With this vaccine, it would no longer be a trade-off between lives and livelihood,” said Tessie Sy-Coson, vice-chairperson of SM Investments Corporation.
“This is an early Christmas gift for many Filipinos who have been coping with the pandemic for eight months now. We are happy to be part of this effort to help contain this pandemic, protect lives, and speed up economic recovery. [The] vaccine gives us hope for the future…Together, we will emerge from this crisis stronger,” said Ramon Ang, president and COO of San Miguel Corporation.
“I don’t think this would have taken off the ground unless all the credibility of everyone here was involved and all towards a common goal of really assisting the Filipino people in resolving this COVID crisis. Again, we’re very happy to be part of this partnership and we look forward to continuing to work in a tripartite way moving forward,” said Lance Gokongwei, chairman of the Gokongwei Brothers Foundation.
This is just the first step in our fight with this virus. Hopefully, along the line, we’ll get enough vaccines to vaccinate the entire population and those who require it,” said Enrique Razon, chairman of the board and president of International Container Terminal Services, Inc.
The session was moderated by Josephine Romero, Project ARK lead. The private sector signatories were Mario Deriquito of BDO Foundation, Richard Sanz of the Philippine Franchise Association, Michael Tan of Philippine National Bank, Manny Pangilinan of Metro Pacific Investments Corporation, Jhayner Bufi of LBC Express Holdings, Dennis Uy of Udenna Corporation, Carmelo Bautista of GT Capital Holdings, William Belo of Wilcon Depot, Paolo Borromeo of AC Health, Maribeth Marasigan of Aboitiz Foundation, Ted Belza Jr. of Penshoppe, Gerardo Borromeo of Philippine Transmarine Carriers, Marlon Rono of Magsaysay People Resources Corp., Glenn Yu of SEAOIL Philippines, Ricardo Cuerva of Nova Group, Andrew Gotianun of Filinvest Corporation, Felcaster Torres of Yazaki-Torres Manufacturing, Corazon Lim of Mercury Drug Corporation, Jose Antonio of Century Properties Group, Inc., Henry Lim Bon Liong of Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Atty. Kenneth Cheng of Bounty Fresh, Ronald Mascarinas of Bounty Agro Ventures, Inc., Raul Concepcion of Concepcion Industrial Corporation, Jose Ma. A. Minana, Jr. of Jollibee Group of Companies, Mukesh Advani of Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce Philippines, Inc., Edgar Sia of Doubledragon Properties/MerryMart, Jerome Ong of CDO Foodsphere, Erwin Go of GUR LAVI Group, Martin Yu of Shopee Philippines, and representatives from the First Philippine Holdings Corporation and Suyen Corporation.