Filipino Businessmen Seal the Deal on P600 Million Vaccine Procurement for Over 1 Million Frontliners
In an unprecedented public-private partnership, the government and the country’s leading businessmen gathered for a ceremonial signing of donations in a Zoom conference today, November 27.
Over 30 businessmen were in attendance, from ports king Enrique Razon to San Miguel’s Ramon Ang, and all have committed to the vaccine effort, collectively raising enough to fund 2.6 million doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, which costs approximately P500 for two doses (two doses are needed to be immunized).
This will be enough to vaccinate one million Filipinos against COVID-19. The vaccine will be prioritized for frontliners in the private sector and the government, including health workers in COVID-19 epicenters.
According to vaccine czar Carlito Galvez, the government is already in talks to procure an additional one million doses from AstraZeneca. The first batch is expected to arrive in May of 2021.
“The battle with COVID-19 will be a long haul, and a difficult one, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel,” said Galvez, noting that the first order of 2.6 million doses will mark the start of the Philippines’ immunization efforts.
This public-private partnership for vaccines is only the beginning. Although not confirmed, it’s expected more businesses will step forward to procure vaccines.
In the online conference, Ayala Corp. chairman and CEO Jaime Zobel de Ayala noted the need for a large-scale vaccination program that he believed can only be executed through public-private partnerships.
News of the vaccine deal comes as the Philippines continues to grapple with the virus that has already infected over 420,000 Filipinos and killed 8,000.
It’s one of the rare good news related to COVID-19 in 2020, which Ang refers to as an “early Christmas gift for many Filipinos.”
The government aims to vaccinate at least 25 million people in 2021.
The businesses that were present at the signing were:
- International Container Terminal Services Inc., represented by chairman Enrique Razon
- BDO Unibank, represented by SM Investments co-chairperson Teresita Sy-Coson
- LT Group Inc., represented by president Michael Tan
- San Miguel Corp., represented by president and COO Ramon Ang
- Metro Pacific Investments Corp., represented by president and CEO Manny Pangilinan
- Udenna Corp., represented by CEO Dennis Uy
- Ayala Corp., represented by president and CEO Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala
- Jollibee Food Corp., represented by president and CEO CEO Ernesto Tanmantiong
- JG Summit Holdings Inc., represented by CEO Lance Gokongwei
- Alliance Global Inc., represented by CEO Kevin Tan
- Filinvest Development Corp., represented by vice chairman Andrew Gotianun III
- Double Dragon and MerryMart, represented by CEO Injap Sia
Other companies in attendance were: First Philippine Holdings Corp., Universal Leaf Philippines Inc., LBC Express Holdings Inc., GT Capital Holdings Inc., Wilcon Depot Inc., Aboitiz Equity Ventures, Golden ABC Inc., Mercury Drug Corp., Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce & Industry, Yazaki-Torres Manufacturing Inc.; Bounty Fresh Food Inc., RFM, Concepcion Industries, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce Philippines Inc., Philippine Transmarine Carriers Inc., Magsaysay Maritime Corp., Nova Group, Philippine Franchise Association, Lotis Shoppe, Century Properties Group, Bench, CDO, Mercedez Benz, Rustan’s, and SEAOIL Philippines.
Razon's ICTSI is reportedly the biggest donor, followed by the Sy's BDO and the Lopez clan's First Philippine Holdings.