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More important issues on Dengvaxia than Gordon

/ 05:10 AM January 03, 2018

I’m disturbed and quite alarmed that the Inquirer has lost its objectivity especially in its coverage of the Dengvaxia fiasco, leading me to conclude that it is a “yellow” paper, a mouthpiece of the previous administration.

In its coverage of the Senate investigation on the Dengvaxia fiasco, it tried to divert the public’s attention by hitting

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Sen. Dick Gordon in its Dec. 20 editorial, “Flush Gordon.”

However, Gordon and how he handles the blue ribbon committee are not the issues.

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The issues are the following (among many others):

1) Did the incompletely tested and defective Dengvaxia vaccine cause an unnecessary health hazard on poor Filipino children who have never contracted dengue?

2) Was the implementation at its different stages fraudulent and deceitful? Why was the implementation unjustifiably rushed? Why was the bidding coursed through the Philippine Children’s Medical Center, a mere hospital, and not through the Department of Health?

3) Was the manner of funding of the vaccination program illegal? Were former president Benigno Aquino III and his budget secretary Florencio Abad authorized under the law to allocate and release funds for the program? Was there a law appropriating funds for the program that was passed by Congress? Did Aquino and/or his subordinates commit the crime of technical malversation?

4) Why was the scientific and expert recommendation of the DOH’s  Formulary Executive Council, the body that is tasked to look into the safety and efficacy of vaccines, bypassed or even neglected by then health secretary Janette Garin?

5) Did Aquino break protocol and  delicadeza  (at the very least) by meeting with the representatives of Sanofi, the supplier of Dengvaxia, on at least two occasions (there were  photographs) long before the advanced testing of the vaccine?

6) Was the vaccination program a campaign gimmick, among others, for the then forthcoming presidential election?

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7) Why was the Special Allotment Release Order rushed in record time when Saros to fund government projects usually take several months before they are released? What was the reason for the undue haste and obvious midnight purchase of Dengvaxia? Was there a national emergency to justify it?

8) How true is it that the real cost of the vaccines was only P2.9 billion? Did Aquino and/or his subordinates and/or the Liberal Party gain kickbacks from the purchase of P3.5 billion worth of incompletely tested and defective dengue vaccines?

Finally, glossing over these issues and trying to divert the public’s attention on Gordon is a cheap trick. Thus, my final question: Has the Inquirer become a propaganda paper for the “yellows,” the present opposition?

In my opinion, it is now. Sad.

LOUIS “BAROK” C. BIRAOGO,

[email protected]

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TAGS: dengue vaccine, Dengvaxia, Inquirer letters, Louis C. Biraogo, Richard Gordon
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