As the days get closer to Christmas, we are also getting more information coming in about the issue surrounding the Dengvaxia vaccine. The issue have been hugging the headlines on social and mainstream media the past days which have created both fear and anxiety especially for the parents and kids who were recipients of this government program. The fast and widespread exchange of information and accusations are not helping in the process. It has created more paranoia rather than peace of mind.
Dengvaxia was a drug that was supposed to help in the reduction of dengue cases in the country. It was to give its recipients the peace of mind that they will be safe from this illness that can cause death. Unfortunately, a few years after the program was approved, budgeted, and rolled out by the Aquino Administration, the developer of the drug, Sanofi, released its findings that their studies show that those who have completed their vaccines have a higher chance of suffering severe dengue if they get infected 31 months after the administration of the vaccine. This is the case of some 700, 000 elementary students who became unsuspecting victims of this Aquino-driven government program.
But stepping beyond the parameters of public safety is the issue on the acquisition process of the said drug. A whopping Php3.5B was released for the purchase of the vaccines. The process was believed to be hastened by the PNoy administration and was coursed through the PCMC. The phase 1 of the program rolled out not long after the purchase to which the present DOH officials are claiming that almost 800K Filipinos were administered the vaccine. The purchase and the program roll-out happened just months before the Presidential election of 2016.
It will not take a genius to figure out that this Dengvaxia Program of the PNoy administration was more of a political move rather than that public service. It was supposed to be a two-way win for the Liberal Party with the hope that it should help push a Roxas administration. Its purchase and implementation had the right timing to generate funds and create a perceived public concern that they were hoping would help them in the election campaign.
Let me break this further down.
The purchase of the vaccine is a financial opportunity to dip their hands into public funds that they can use in the campaign. It was already confirmed that the Dengue Program was not part of the DOH’s budget for the year and its purchase were mainly funded from the savings of other line items. The funds were also diverted to a government hospital that can expedite the purchase of these items. I have heard that the purchase of these vaccines was done urgently and in haste. We also need to consider the huge volume of the order for a new drug in the market which standards dictate should have been done in a smaller scale. The volume of the purchase was so massive that the program became a priority of the PCMC and was rolled out to anyone a year after as against to its initial target of just students.
If it was indeed a priority then why was it not given a budget with the DOH in 2016 and 2017? Why was there a need to course billions of pesos through PCMC if it was an urgent program? Lastly, why was the PNoy administration expediting a 3B peso release a few months before the 2016 Presidential election through means that will not be scrutinized by other government bodies prior to execution?
With the elections coming in fast and with their candidate losing against his opponents, it would not be a surprise to me that this Dengvaxia Program was a means to get additional funds for their personal interests and/or political interests.
Furthermore, the actual program roll-out was also meant to dupe the public into thinking that the PNoy administration was pro-poor. It was perfectly timed a month before the election. It was a last ditch effort to save a party from its sinking ship. Interestingly, the program was rolled-out in Central Luzon, NCR, and the Calabarzon provinces which incidentally was PRRD’s stronghold during the elections. These were the very same provinces that PRRD finished way ahead of all the other candidates. Well, they can always claim that these three provinces registered the three highest dengue cases in 2015. But if you compare reported dengue cases between 2014 vs 2015, the Cagayan Valley region registered an increase of 229% in dengue cases followed by the NCR at 133% increase, and CALABARZON at 102% increase. Region 3 registered a 93% increase from 2014. Looking through this scenario, I think the DOH should have focused their efforts on Region 2 since it had more dengue cases in 2015 against 2014. Alas, Cagayan Province did not have the number of voters needed to propel the administration candidate to the Presidency so the campaign efforts, disguised as government programs, were not directed to the province.
Unfortunately, the effort to swing public votes through the program was unsuccessful as PRRD is now in the position to sort out the mess. And that leaves us with a botched political plan hatched by the PNoy administration in an effort to stay in power.
Now for the Aquino apologists, the Dengvaxia issue is just one of the many effed up programs of the PNoy administration. It is funny as to how much silence we are hearing from the the Liberal Party’s “dakdak” bunch – Pangilinan, Drilon, Aquino, Hontiveros, and De Lima. I cannot blame them because, if the Liberal Party benefitted from the program, these senators become complicit to the crime. And with the 2019 senatorial elections fast approaching, I also understand that they need to downplay another blow to their party’s effed up image.
What is even funnier is the fact that some of these apologists go all the way by blaming the present administration for continuing the program. They try all these stupid efforts to try to wash the hands of their so-called “saints”. They do not mind defending them even if they come out really stupid.
It is a very straightforward issue with only one question to be answered – was the bulk purchase of the Dengvaxia Vaccine, understanding its clinical arguments on public health and safety and the hurried process that it went through for its purchase, another case of the PNoy administration’s corrupt and manipulative practice that was meant to keep them in power?
The question weighs heavily on the PNoy administration and there is no question to that. The process and the purchase is in question. That is the bottom line.
In the end, the Dengvaxia controversy is a clear indication that a deadly illness coupled by a stupid yellow monkey is a fatal combination for Filipinos.