MANILA – Filipino scientists should work double-time to develop their own Covid-19 vaccines so the country would no longer have to rely on supplies from abroad, President Rodrigo Duterte said on Wednesday.
Duterte encouraged Filipino scientists to do everything to develop their own vaccines especially since new Covid-19 variants are starting to emerge in more countries.
“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) executives and other government officials at Malago Clubhouse in Malacañang, Manila on Monday night.
He said he believes the Filipino scientists have the capability to be Covid-19 vaccine self-reliant, noting that the government has allotted enough funds for the purpose.
“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 he would continue to pray for the success of ongoing efforts for the local production of Covid-19 vaccines.
“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.
Duterte earlier described the possibility of having Covid-19 vaccines produced in the country as an “answered prayer.”
Currently, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) is in talks with potential local vaccine manufacturers in planning for the local production of Covid-19 vaccines.
To support the local production of vaccines, Duterte told appropriate government agencies to hasten the processing of requirements.
There is currently no local vaccine manufacturer in the Philippines and the government has to purchase Covid-19 vaccines from other countries.
The vaccine brands that are currently part of the Philippines’ inventory are Sinovac, AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Sputnik V, and Moderna. (PNA)