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Apparently, PSG and Cabinet members got first dibs on the COVID-19 vaccine

Transparency found dead in a ditch.

Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año revealed today that some Cabinet members have been inoculated with a COVID-19 vaccine. “Meron nga ho, I will confirm that pero hindi ko lang pwedeng sabihin ’yung pangalan nila unless sila mismo magsabi. But there are (those who got vaccinated), kasi mga frontliners naman ito lalo na siguro sa (Presidential Security Group or PSG) na sila ’yung nagpoprotekta sa Pangulo.”

(Yes, I will confirm that but I can’t say their names unless they have spoken themselves. But there are (those who got vaccinated), because they are frontliners, especially from (Presidential Security Group or PSG) because they are the ones protecting the President.)

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) also confirmed today that PSG members were given the Sinopharm vaccine from a  China-based pharmaceutical company. Such a tangled mess this issue has become because earlier, Maj. Gen. Edgard Arevalo, official military spokesperson, mentioned that there was no AFP-approved vaccination drive.

The more pressing questions though are: What about our medical frontliners? The rest of the population? Where are the concrete plans? Who authorized the vaccinations?

“Huwag niyo namang ipagkait sa ating mga sundalo kung nagkaroon sila ng proteksyon. Tanggapin na lang natin na importante na ’yong ating kasundaluhan, mga nagbabantay sa ating seguridad, ay ligtas na sa COVID-19,” said presidential spokesperson Harry Roque in a recent press briefing.

(Do not deny our soldiers if they had protection. Let’s just accept that it is important that our troops, who are guarding our security, are safe from COVID-19.)

He added that COVID-19 vaccines from abroad may be brought in as long as they’re in limited amounts; otherwise they would require a license. Is this tantamount to telling people that they should get their vaccines themselves? That ultimately, fighting the virus depends on individual and private initiatives?

Meanwhile, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a statement, warning against obtaining vaccines from unverified suppliers. Those obtained by the PSG and the Cabinet members are no exception. It is “illegal to import an unregistered drug, to distribute it, and for a doctor or a medical practitioner or any health personnel to administer unlicensed drugs in the country” and “if we do catch any of then and we will be filing cases against them,” Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo warned.

Whatever show is unfolding on the news (or on Twitter), indications are that the government has not taken the public’s health into account at all. As in previous instances, the government’s inadequate and muddled response simply does not answer the needs and real demands of Filipinos reeling under the weight of almost half a million cases. 

To go on with our daily routines without having to risk our life and safety should be number one on the government’s New Year’s resolutions.

Read more:

For real though, will mass vaccination in the PH be a thing?
PH gov’t willing to sell their assets for that sweet, sweet COVID-19 vaccine
I hate it here: We’d likely have to stay indoors the whole 2021

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