By Deighton Acuin and Archie Villaflores

PHOTO: Presidential Communications

President Rodrigo Duterte berated his critics anew over the government’s COVID-19 response as the country reach another all-time high of 8,019 infections on Monday.

Duterte’s tirades came after Senators Risa Hontiveros and Panfilo Lacson aired their questions on the low vaccine supply despite borrowing billions of dollars.

He explained the loans allocated for vaccine acquisition are still with the lenders.

“It's a classic case of you want to appear white, you paint the other guy black para ang labas mo puting-puti ka. Si Mr. Clean, parang ganoon. Style bulok,” Duterte said in his weekly televised briefing.

“Ang buong akala kasi nila ‘yong pera na bilyon na bilyon na ibinigay nila sa Kongreso, nandiyan na sa kamay natin, that it’s cold cash, nasan na raw ‘yong pera?” Duterte said.

Lacson earlier said Filipinos “might all die waiting” to get vaccinated if the government would not implement innovative steps in fighting the pandemic.

He also lamented how government agencies dragging their feet on acquiring vaccines.

Hontiveros, meanwhile, urged the Department of Health (DOH) and the National Task Force Against COVID-19 to come up with a “vaccine tracker” to keep the public informed on the progress of the vaccination program.

She argued the public has the right to know the status of the program due to the surge in COVID-19 infections.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said the country has allocated a total of P82.5 billion for the vaccine, logistics, and other supplies, including waste disposal, as part of the government's COVID-19 vaccination program.

Of the P82.5 billion, P2.5 billion will come from the budget of the Department of Health; P10 billion from the funds set aside for Bayanihan 2 Act; and P70 billion from various loans and financing.

The loans will come from the World Bank (P24.3 billion); Asian Development Bank (P19.5 billion); and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (P14.6 billion).  The remaining P11.6 billion will come from Official Development Assistance funds.

The country began its vaccination last March 1 following the arrival of 600,000 vaccine doses from China-based Sinovac Biotech and 525,400 doses from British pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca.

The country is expected to receive 1.4 million more Sinovac doses and 979,200 additional AstraZeneca shots this month.

The Department of Health said a total of 336,656 health workers have been vaccinated against COVID-19 as of March 20.

Vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez, Jr. said the vaccination of the general public could begin in April once all 1.7 million health workers have been vaccinated.