The whole problem with the Dengvaxia issue (and other issues of national consequence for that matter) is that the focus of commentators is on personalities and pointing fingers at them. It also does not help that the pre-eminent Opposition “thought leaders” like Jim Paredes are leading the thinking down such a moronic path…
Who really allowed the continuation of the DOH program despite issuing a resolution two months earlier that the vaccine is dangerous.
Hello Dr Ubial? This is under Duterte. Not under PNOY. FYI.
What really should be discussed is the process that led to this debacle. Processes after all, transcend governments and are, supposedly, anchored to policy and legislation. So far, the only process issue proposed as having contributed to a health debacle that has allegedly put more than 700,000 Filipino children at risk is the manner with which the vaccine was procured and funded. Recall that Senator Richard Gordon earlier pointed out that procurement of the Dengvaxia vaccine by the DOH was not done using Congress-appropriated funds. He even went further to liken the method of funding of the project to the notorious Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) of the Aquino government where “budget savings” were used to fast track the funding of “priority” initiatives.
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The issue will not be resolved at the dismal intellectual levels where much of the “debate” is happening — even the best and brightest commenting on the issue are applying their partisan colours and masking accountability rather than looking out for what is relevant to ordinary Filipinos. Specifically, there are numbers to be crunched and objective facts that need to be highlighted above the emotionalism that is clouding the issue.
Inquirer columnist Randy David extrudes a lengthy piece just to say, in effect, that mistakes are possible and that Filipinos just need to deal with it — specifically deal with a possible loss of 3.5 billion pesos on a dud product and 700,000 Filipino kids left at risk of the ill effects of a drug deployed en masse that, as it turns out, requires careful case-to-case evaluation by qualified physicians before administration is prescribed.
Manuel L Quezon III who was an undersecretary under the administration of former President Benigno Simeon ‘BS’ Aquino III also in an Inquirer article for his part cited Brazil as an example of a government that has decided to proceed with their Dengvaxia programme even after the Sanofi announcement. Quezon provides a more informed premise to support more intelligent discussion around the issue and uses the Brazil example to illustrate the sort of thinking required such a discussion in the Philippine setting. Indeed, current Health Secretary Francisco Duque himself is among the more sober heads in the government of President Rodrigo Duterte calling for a more calm and mature discussion on the issue.
That said, the fact that the Dengvaxia issue has become such a “trending” topic is enough cause to pause and reflect on the roots of this circus. The root cause has less to do with the arguments of the respective parties in this debate and has more to do with the emotionalism that tends to engulf commentary around issues like this. The lesson here is that, in discussing complex issues like these, the boys (and the celebrities) need to be separated from the men — the earlier left to the play area, and the latter given their place at the proverbial round table.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.