Total Pageviews

Like us on Facebook

Monday, February 18, 2019

Dengvaxia mob

Dengvaxia mob
By Undersecretary Lorraine T. Badoy
Originally published on

THE Dengvaxia issue has taken on a life of its own so that, in order to clarify and hopefully, to calm and erase confusion, I have thought it best to write a list.

Just so we’re clear as day.

►Does the Dengvaxia issue fall under the PCOO’s purview?

Just like the Maximum Age of Criminal Responsibility Bill (which emanates from Congress), the Dengvaxia issue does not fall under the mandate of the PCOO. It falls under the DOH.

This is not to wash our hands off this matter. I sit with the DOH on a regular basis and I’d like for you to know that the government under President Duterte is different in that it doesn’t see itself as made up of separate departments but as one Team: Team Pilipinas.

It’s just my way of educating you about how your government works.

Communications is a huge area of responsibility. Hence, as a rule, each Department has its own communications section.

Which is why the PCOO has not taken charge of the communications of 4Ps or of the promotion of Palawan as a tourist destination.

Their own departments take care of communicating those programs to the people. (in this case, the DSWD and the Department of Tourism respectively.).

Certainly, the government communications system of which the PCOO manages, is at the service of the entire government: PTV 4, Radyo Pilipinas, Philippine Information Agency, Philippine News Agency, among others.

But active management and strategizing in communicating programs outside of the President’s programs are the responsibility of each department.

The only time we formulate and implement a communications strategy for any department outside of the Office of the President is when these departments reach out to us and ask for our help. And these are usually via Memoranda of Agreements.

Then and only then does this become PCOO’s purview as well.

►Was the President ever silent about the Dengvaxia issue? 


This President will NEVER be silent about things that matter.

On December 13, 2017, at the height of the Dengvaxia issue, this is what the President said...

“If I were president and there’s a vaccine that was already paid for and studies show according to the clinical studies of that company, I as president, ako rin, sasabihin ko, ‘You implement it if it would save lives.’”

In other words, he refused to politicize an issue that should not have been politicized.

To be clear, he didn’t exonerate PNoy or Garin. He didn’t declare their innocence nor their guilt because that is not his job. He is not a court of law.

He instead directed the NBI to finish its investigation and find out who must be held criminally accountable. The case is currently being handled by the DOJ and thus, I cannot comment on it.

All the President did was give us his fair assessment of the situation: “kung ako nasa lugar ni PNoy non, at nabayaran na ang bakuna at sabi naman ng clinical studies noon na safe ito, itutuloy ko.”

Quite significantly, he issued a call for sobriety.

The President is a man of the law. A fiscal for a good part of his career and if there is anything he endeavors to teach us, it is this: that laws of the land must be followed and that we all remain mindful of the law.

May proceso at susundan natin ang proceso na yan.

Also, he will not put in harm’s way the people he has sworn to serve just to score political points.

So early on, the President issued a call for sobriety. And then worked with Sec Duque to protect and serve the children well.

Did you hear the President’s call for sobriety? Kung hindi, baket? Sino ang mas pinaniwalaan mo kesa ang Pangulong sinasabi mong pinagkakatiwalaan mo?

At huwag ninyo syang iinsultuhin na hindi nya alam ang nangyayari sa paligid nya. Hindi ho ulyanin ang ating Pangulo. Napakatalas ng pag-iisip nya. At malamang, mas marami syang alam kesa sayo tungkol sa pagpapatakbo ng ating Bansa.

►Was his alter ego, Sec. Duque, ever silent about the Dengvaxia issue? 


When he sat as DOH Secretary in October 2017, the Dengvaxia program was already in place and ongoing.

On November 29, 2017, Sanofi issued a medical advisory regarding the safety and efficacy of the Dengvaxia vaccine.

Three days later, on Dec 1, Sec Duque STOPPED the implementation of the Dengue Immunization Program all over the country.

On Dec 7, 2017, DOH created Dengvaxia Task Force and on Dec 27, 2017, the Dengue Vaccine Panel Experts (composed of an independent body of expert physicians of the UP PGH) met for the 1sttime to evaluate evidence at hand.

On Dec 29, 2017, the FDA suspended the Certificate of Product Registration of Dengvaxia.

And that’s just an overview of the first month.

Other measures undertaken were the tie-up of the DOH with the World Health Organization experts on capacity building on Dengvaxia related  surveillance.

Around 61 million pesos was spent on tracing each and every child immunized with Dengvaxia and then profiling them to have a baseline assessment of each of them and then for them to be followed up for 5 years after Dengvaxia immunization.

So far, the DOH has profiled 572,537 vaccinees—gone to them, examined them, spoken to them. And they will not stop till they’ve reached the whole 891,295 vaccinees.

PHP5 million was spent on lab studies done by the Research Institute of Tropical Medicine for any dengvaxia victim—for which they were charged nothing.

So for instance, if a child in Cebu wanted his blood or urine examined, his specimen was flown to the RITM free of charge.

Close to 7 million pesos was spent on support to regional offices all over the country.

Dengue Fast Lanes were put up in hospitals all over the country dedicated solely to victims who got immunized with Dengvaxia with a 1:1 doctor to patient ratio as much as possible.

Patients were given Dengvaxia monitoring cards to make it easier to identify and follow up and keep track of these children. And if they get hospitalized (public or private hospitals), all expenses will be covered under the No Billing program.

EVEN IF THE CHILD GETS SICK WITH SOMETHING ELSE OTHER THAN DENGUE or anything attributable to the Dengvaxia vaccine.

In March of 2018, Sec Duque was able to get a refund of 1.16 billion pesos from Sanofi that he means to use for the benefit of Dengvaxia victims once Senate okays its release.

PHP50,000 is being given to family members of deceased of Dengvaxia vaccinees.

It is not true that families are coerced into signing forms that will stop them from taking legal action against the government once they receive the PHP50,000.

For those who have experienced this, kindly call 8888 and we will get to the bottom of this.

What it is is a 'one-time financial assistance' and it is from the Office of the President.

The 46 families who have, thus far, claimed the PHP50,000 one-time financial assistance are free to take any legal action against the government if they so wish.

So no, Sec Duque – like the President—wasn’t silent about Dengvaxia. Besides literally speaking to the Filipino people about it a number of times, they were both eloquent in the actions they took to address the terrible situation.

But I guess you didn’t hear them because you were too busy allowing yourselves to be whipped up into a frenzy.

This is the alarming truth that we have learned from this Dengvaxia experience — and what a lot of governments the world over have learned about disinformation is:

►In the face of all these—

A President who has the welfare of the people he serves first and foremost,

A Health Secretary who is just as dedicated to the people he has sworn to serve.

An entire department of faithful, hardworking public servants who must be some of the most heroic public servants I have ever known—

And all the measures they undertook— all that was NO MATCH to the fear-mongering and the hatred and distrust sown by a handful—some of them, workers in government even.

The truth is, public servants of the Department of Health were taken aback and shaken to their core at the hatred and vitriol directed at them by the very public they serve faithfully.

These are health workers who cross seas in rinky-dink boats and climb mountains and get covered with mud—and they sleep in makeshift tents to reach those who are most in need—the poorest of the poor.

Certainly, more noble souls than those who do nothing all day but Facebook while gleefully destroying lives.

And these public servants serve with nothing more than their most noble of intentions.

These days though, because of the hatred directed at them by the unthinking mob incited on them by the irresponsible, our country’s frontliners in the fight for better health for those who need it the most—well, these days, they go about their sad, thankless jobs  without the DOH uniforms/shirts they wore with pride because so much hatred is trained on them. They’ve experienced being stoned, cursed at, spat at.

These are doctors of the barrio, midwives, nurses, barangay health workers who work for a pittance.

And whose only rewards are seeing their patients get better and the pride of knowing they work for a Department that is noble in its aspirations –even if you factor in the imperfections.

And even those psychic rewards have been stolen from them.

Never, according to them, have they experienced this much hatred and vitriol in all the 120 years of the Department’s existence.

Never before have they seen this much maligning of reputations of simple, hardworking public servants. Nor this much sensationalism over such a serious issue where reason should have ruled and where discussions should have been more academic and sober.

Instead what ruled was mob behavior: unthinking, hateful, toxic—incited by a handful of malicious people who are now doing all they can to wash the blood off their hands.

So they instigated, provoked and aroused the flames of fear and hatred.

And when critical mass was created and people got burned, they are quick to let go of their torches and say, “What me? Responsible? It’s all your fault!”

In other countries like Singapore, there would have been an end to this by these menaces being put behind bars.

Cyberlibel laws are being crafted and strengthened as we speak and I am hoping prosecutions will follow.

Those responsible for the 500% increase in measles incidence should be held accountable—as they ought to for the way they’ve maligned and spread atrocious lies about faithful and hardworking public servants whose only treasure is their good name.

And by causing irreparable harm to the Filipino people.

These are the toxic ones who make public service even more thankless and more soul-crushing than it already is and something no one will ever want to get into except the corrupt.

Governments around the world have closed ranks to share best practices to battle this scourge.

Disinformation (fake news) can hurt not just one person. It can hurt an entire nation. It can hurt an entire world. It can hurt the poorest of the poor.

►Was I fired at the DSWD? 


I am a Presidential appointee. Only the President can fire me. I was an Asst. Secretary there and the President moved me to the PCOO as an Undersecretary. Assistant Secretary to Undersecretary sounds like a promotion, right? Not fired. Whoever says that is either stupid or thinks you’re stupid and is obviously lying and you should stop believing him.

►What is the greatest weapon against all the toxicity of fake news?

Someone who stands apart from the mob because a mob is UNTHINKING.

Someone who can think critically and independently. Someone who is not easily led, like sheep, to slaughter.

Stop being a follower.

Do not surrender what is sacred: your own thoughts.

Then, as now, the greatest force against lies and dangerous deception is an individual who has a strong and educated mind and has no need to be told what is right or wrong because she can figure this out on her own.

I truly believe that now—more than ever—the world is in grave danger from those who could wreak havoc by stealing your mind and making you part of the mob.

It is, therefore, a moral imperative to know who it is you truly are and then to stand your ground.

You, as an individual, can save the world.

You are the Greatest Force against the evil that incites the unthinking mob.

No comments:

Post a Comment