MANILA - Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Thursday defended port magnate Enrique Razon from critics against the billionaire's plan to build a mega vaccination facility in Parañaque.
Razon's International Container Terminal Services Inc (ICTSI) Foundation has secured government approval to build an 8 to 10-hectare mega-vaccination facility in a reclaimed lot falsely tagged as one of the remaining forested area in the capital region.
"One thing is certain, Mr. Razon is concerned about the country," Sotto told reporters when asked for a comment on the mega vaccination facility.
"Now it can be told, he (Razon) was the one who gave me the idea of giving subsidies to our people thru Social Amelioration Program last March 2020," he said.
"It was after he (Razon) advised me that I called Sec. Dominguez and gave the idea. Then I authored and filed the Bayanihan Law!" he said.
The Bayanihan to Heal as One Act is the Philippines' first COVID-19 aid package that provide cash aid for poor families and workers who were displaced by health restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Congress passed a second Bayanihan Act - the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act - to further augment assistance for jobless Filipinos and provide aid for medical frontline workers.
"Mr. Razon has helped the country in so many ways before. What have his detractors done for the country?" Sotto said.
Razon is one of the many billionaires in the Philippines who have been aiding the government in addressing the pandemic.
Ramon Ang's San Miguel Corp deployed its own doctors and nurses to aid the government's vaccination program, while SM, Ayala and Robinsons malls have partnered with the government to use their facilities as inoculation hubs.
Several conglomerates also shelled out $93 million (P4.45 billion) to buy 7 million COVID-19 vaccines from Moderna.