by Ben R. Rosario
An opposition lawmaker assailed yesterday the failure of government health officials to take a stand on the implementation of the anti-dengue vaccine program, saying that flip-flopping on the issue has become frustrating.
Kabayan Partylist Rep. Harry L. Roque said the Commission on Appointment’s decision to defer Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial’s appointment is justified in the light of her failure to deciden on the safety of dengue vaccine.
“Ito po ang pagtutol ko sa appointment ni Secretary Ubial: atras-abante siya pagdating sa dengue vaccine. In fact, noong budget hearing, tinatanong siya ni Deputy Speaker Gwen Garcia, ang sabi niya, hindi po niya tinitigil ang programa,” Roque said, referring to the School Based Immunization Program launched in the previous administration. (My objection to Secretary Ubial’s appointment: she flip-flops on the dengue vaccine. When asked by Deputy Speaker Gwen Garcia during the budget hearing, she said the program has not been stopped).
Roque said he has documents that reveal Ubial had stopped the vaccination program’s implementation.
The partylist lawmaker noted that Ubial had also signed the Certificate of Exemption for DEngvaxia, the newly-formulated anti-dengue vaccine, “so that the vaccine could be used despite her red-flagging certain issues.”
“Ang tanong ko, may red flag ka na pala, bakit noong secretary ka noong September, 2015, nagbigay ka pa rin ng Certificate of Exemption sa dengue vaccine?” he noted. (Why did you issue a Certificate of Exemption on the dengue vaccine as secretary on September, 2015, then decided to put a red flag on it?)