By Deighton Acuin

PHOTO: Presidential Communications

Malacañang on Tuesday said President Rodrigo Duterte is eyeing the establishment of Vaccine Institute before he steps down from the presidential office on June 30, 2022 to leave a legacy.

“What he wants is for the (Department of Budget and Management) to set aside funding for Vaccine Institute so we can manufacture our own vaccine,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said during an online Palace briefing.

“He wants to leave it as a legacy: having a Vaccine Institute, para hindi na tayo umaasa sa inaangkat na bakuna [so that we will not depend on imported vaccines]," he added.

The Philippines is facing a current surge of COVID-19 infections with 124,680 active cases thus far.

The government has also imposed different classifications of quarantine measures in a bid to contain the spread of COVID-19, and such lockdown that preventing non-essential trips and services from an operation is still effective in ‘NCR Plus Bubble’ — which consists of Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal.

The country also started its national COVID-19 immunization program on March 1 after receiving 2,525,600 vaccine doses from China-based Sinovac Biotech and British pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca.

By the numbers, 1,545,600 were donated by China (Sinovac) and COVAX Facility (AstraZeneca), and one million Sinovac doses were procured by the government.

According to officials, the rest of the supply is expected to arrive in the second and third quarters of 2021.