MANILA, Oct. 27 (CNA) - Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said on Tuesday (Oct 27) that he prefers a government-to-government deal for the purchase of COVID-19 vaccines to prevent the risk of corruption.
"Let me tell everybody that we will not beg, we will pay," Duterte said in a weekly televised address. "To the Chinese government, you need not look for partners, we can make it government-to-government."
The Philippines has the second-highest number of COVID-19 infections and deaths in Southeast Asia behind Indonesia.
Duterte has said previously that he wants to inoculate the country's entire population of about 113 million, but priority will be given to the poor, the police and military personnel.
Apart from China's Sinovac Biotech and Russia's Gamaleya Research Institute, the Philippines is also evaluating Johnson & Johnson's Janssen unit's application to conduct Phase 3 trials of its COVID-19 vaccine.
It has had talks with other potential vaccine suppliers, including US drugmaker Pfizer and Moderna.
The Philippines' health ministry on Monday recorded 1,607 new coronavirus infections and 62 more deaths.
In a bulletin, the ministry said total confirmed cases had increased to 371,630, while deaths had reached 7,039.
The Philippines last week lifted a ban on non-essential foreign trips by Filipinos.
Travellers to other countries are required to show confirmed round-trip tickets, travel and health insurance, a declaration acknowledging the risks of travel and trip delays, and a medical test within 24 hours of departure that clears them of COVID-19.