MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte said on Wednesday that Filipino scientists should work double-time to generate their own Covid-19 vaccines, so that the country does not have to rely on supplies from abroad.
Duterte urged Filipino scientists to do everything possible to produce their own vaccines, particularly when new Covid-19 strains begin to emerge in more nations.
“Our scientists must work double the time…Mag-isip talaga kayo. If you have to pour your, ano, matutunaw yung utak ninyo (You really have to think. If you have to pour your, your brain will melt). You must come up with something to help the Filipino,” he said in a pre-recorded meeting with Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) officers and other government officials at Malago Clubhouse in Malacañang, Manila on Monday night.
He stated that he believes Filipino scientists are capable of producing their own Covid-19 vaccine, noting that the government has provided adequate funding for this reason.
“We cannot be dependent, ill-afford to just sabihin doon sa ibang tao na ‘Bigyan mo kami, bigyan mo dito (and tell other nations ‘Give us supply’).’ That cannot go on. We must develop,” he added.
Meanwhile, Duterte said that he will continue to pray for the success of continuing attempts to produce Covid-19 vaccines locally.
“I am also praying at the same time that they can come up with good results of their studies and make some vaccines that are really, truly Filipino,” he said.
The possibility of having Covid-19 vaccines made in the country was previously hailed by Duterte as an “answered prayer”.
The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) is currently in discussion with possible local vaccine manufacturers in order to plan for the local production of Covid-19 vaccines.
Duterte directed competent government entities to expedite the processing of requirements in order to support local vaccine production.
The Philippines currently lacks a local vaccine manufacturer, thus the government must import Covid-19 vaccines from other countries.
Sinovac, AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Sputnik V, and Moderna are among the vaccine brands now available in the Philippines.