By Analou De Vera
The Department of Health (DOH) on Thursday called on those with “negative intentions to stop propagating baseless allegations” against the department.
The DOH made the pronouncement following the allegations of Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) chief Atty. Persida Acosta.
To note, Acosta claimed that the DOH paid four families of those vaccinated with Dengvaxia vaccine with P50,000 each, in exchange of dropping off the charges against government officials linked in the Dengvaxia controversy.
“This is malicious, baseless, and a complete lie. Baseless statements like these cause serious damage to our reputation as the primary government entity mandated to protect the health of all Filipinos,” said Health Secretary Francisco Duque III.
“I am deeply disappointed that our efforts to provide any form of help are twisted and taken negatively. Even our staff on the ground facilitating the support groups are being bullied and harassed at every instance. I strongly call on those with negative intentions to stop propagating baseless allegations and stop harassing our staff,” the health chief furthered.
Duque said that since he assumed office in November 2017, he immediately took action by stopping the dengue immunization program and set up priority lanes, hotlines, and support groups to assist those who were vaccinated with Dengvaxia and their families.
“We also reached out to various government agencies including the Public Attorney’s Office. Unfortunately, my fellow public servants at PAO led by Atty. Persida Acosta refuses to cooperate and continue to attack and throw baseless claims and accusations at the Department of Health and myself,” said Duque.
“As a consequence, we saw a decline in vaccine confidence and a rise in cases of measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases,” he added.
The health chief said that as public servants, they should work together to serve the public.
“We must collectively find solutions to the problems before us and not create divisions. We must always work around facts backed by reliable evidence,” said Duque.