Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque may be overjoyed with our “win” in the ongoing battle against COVID-19 (though he later clarified his remarks), but the pandemic isn’t over just yet with cases continuing to rise, exceeding 35,800 as of writing.
We shouldn’t panic though. The government has come up with a new “plan.”
According to Roque, the government will sell assets to purchase COVID-19 vaccines on top of the current pandemic loans, grants and insurance of bonds worth around P386.6 billion. Roque shared in a televised briefing that Pfizer and German biotechnology company BioNTech are developing new vaccines with promising results. The vaccine can trigger an “immune system response” to prepare the body to fight the virus.
Roque proceeded to inform everyone how they will do whatever it takes to get these vaccines to Filipinos—going as far as selling government assets.
“Basta po meron nang gamot diyan sa COVID-19, basta may bakuna, ibebenta natin lahat ng ari-arian ng ating gobyerno para makabili po tayo para sa ating mga kababayan,” said Roque. “Iyan po ang paninindigan ni Presidente—buhay muna bago ari-arian.”
With more loans to finance COVID-19 response during our lockdown’s first full month, our country’s gross borrowings last April surged by 593 percent. The government’s current loan as of writing stands at P386.6 billion. The latest Bureau of the Treasury data indicated that last year’s loans only amounted to P37.9 billion. According to ABS-CBN, we will be paying for the loans, grants and insurance of bonds until 2049.
Our state of the nation can cause panic within all of us. But as Duterte said in his June press con, he apparently doesn’t care where we will get funds to combat the pandemic, even if it means buying expensive equipment. “Wala akong pakialam kung saan ka magkuha, magnakaw ka and I remember saying it. I do not care whether you go and steal, borrow or kill to get what needs to be done.”
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Art by Rogin Losa