Celebrate Covid inoculation, not keep secret: Pangilinan

January 4, 2021

SENATOR Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan on Monday supported Vice President Leni Robredo’s call for a transparent investigation of the unregistered vaccines given to some members of the military and the president’s security personnel.

“Bakit sinisikreto ang pagbabakuna? Dapat nga sine-celebrate ito dahil magandang balita ito, unless merong iligal sa mga transaksyon,” Pangilinan said.

“An honest and transparent investigation of the so-called smuggled vaccines and a credible result will bring back the confidence of the people in the government’s vaccination program. Dapat maparusahan ang gumagawa at nag-uutos ng iligal,” he added.

The senator said the inoculation of the military and the President’s guards made a mockery of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which has been working hard to find safe vaccines for the Filipinos against Covid-19.

It also endangers the military personnel inoculated since unauthorized vaccines still lack the safety and efficacy requirements.

Pangilinan also pointed out anew that the incident raised questions about who should get the vaccines first.

“Palakasan ang nanaig sa kung sino ang mababakunahan. The vulnerable and poor sectors, the elderly and the frontliners as determined by the Department of Health should be first in line,” he said.

Pangilinan called on local government units not to emulate the unauthorized vaccination, stressing it was illegal and could imperil their constituents.

Earlier, Vice President Leni Robredo pushed for the investigation so as not to send the wrong signal to the people that illegal acts will be tolerated.

“No unlawful act will justify any good intention,” Pangilinan said.

On December 14, the Senate approved Pangilinan’s Senate Resolution 594 asking the Senate Committee of the Whole to look into the government’s national Covid-19 vaccination program.

The hearing may begin early January 2021, but the date is still to be decided.

Senate interventions have put some order into the government’s pandemic response. These include, among others:

* Bayanihan 1, which originally included draconian measures giving the Executive powers to shut down and take over private facilities;

* The reorganization at the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) after the P15-billion scam at the national insurer was exposed during a Senate hearing;

* The drop in the prices of test kits by about 25% after minority senators pushed for the approval of the cheaper, world-class local test kits.

For 2021, Congress has set aside a P72.5-billion appropriation for Covid vaccination under the national budget, which was recently signed into law by the President.