Dominguez promises enough funds to buy vaccines

By: Ador Vincent Mayol - Philippine Daily Inquirer | August 06,2020 - 06:07 PM

CEBU CITY –– Amid the economic slowdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III assures Filipinos of adequate funds to purchase vaccines once these are available.

In an economic forum on Thursday, August 6, Dominguez said the government is doing its best to provide Filipinos relief from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

“Almost every economy affected by the virus has taken a serious hit. Because it is transmissible, COVID has been persistent. No one anticipated this or was fully prepared for its calamitous impact. But the Duterte administration did not shrink from its responsibility to the people,” he said during the virtual Security Bank Economic Forum 2020.

“Countries developing a COVID vaccine promised to give the Philippines a priority in purchasing once these are approved. The government has adequate funds to purchase vaccines, but for now since we don’t have the vaccine yet, we treat infections and find ways to coexist with the virus,” he added.

Based on the data of the Philippine Statistics Authority, the economy shrank by 16.5 percent from April to June compared to last year due to lockdowns implemented to contain the spread of COVID-19.

In the first half of the year, the economy collapsed by 9 percent.

Dominguez said the government has put in place programs to address the economic slowdown and that there is nothing much to worry about.

“The government’s ability to sustain the fight depends on fiscal stamina. Due to the passage of bold tax reform measures and improved tax administration, we have the resources necessary to address the challenges but we must also conserve our resources for succeeding rounds of this fight,” he said.

“We are doing our best to protect our economic gains and support our recovery. We will beat this pandemic and come out of it even stronger than ever,” Dominguez added.

The government has resumed its Build, Build, Build program subject to health protocols to prevent the spread of the virus.

Dominguez said there is a need to reopen the economy while also protecting lives.

“As a society, we did well in the past years in strengthening our financial system. If we didn’t have programs in the past, it would have been very difficult for us,” he said.

“We will sustain our efforts to expand testing, hire more contact tracers, and beef up our treatment capacity. Protecting the lives of people would come at a heavy price. (But) We are not alone in our struggle. The whole world is still looking for ways to dance with the contagion,” he added. / LZB

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TAGS: adequate funds to purchase vaccines, COVID-19, Dominguez, relief from pandemic

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