Tag: corruption

Privilege Speech on the National Vaccination Program

Mr. President, distinguished colleagues, I rise before you on a matter of collective and personal privilege.

Looking back to last week’s Committee of the Whole 2-day hearings, I couldn’t help but think that we’ve been had. Instead of having the information needed to aid us in our legislative work mainly because some people in the panel of our resource persons who are in charge of the vaccine program were not forthright and honest in their responses to the questions raised by the members of this august chamber.

Nevertheless, we find comfort from the wise words of Winston Churchill, who said and I quote: “Truth is incontrovertible, malice may attack it and ignorance may deride it, but, in the end, there it is.”

At the center of the firestorm that had almost consumed the two-day long hearings and had consumed us the most was the Sinovac vaccine for a number of reasons.

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Ping: Presyo ng Sinovac sa Pilipinas, Nangangamoy Katiwalian

Nangangamoy ‘tong-pats’ ang lumulutang na presyo ng bakuna ng Sinovac sa Pilipinas, kumpara sa presyo nito sa ibang bansa.

Ayon kay Senador Panfilo Lacson, ito ay kung pagbabatayan ang $5 kada turok na presyo sa ibang mga bansang naunang nakipagtransaksyon sa kumpanya para masigurado ang suplay at sa $38 (mahigit P1,800) per dose na ibinabalitang presyo sa Pilipinas.

Pero ayon kay Lacson, kung sakali mang totoo na ang sinabi ni Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. na P650 kada turok ang magiging presyuhan sa bansa, ibig sabihin nito ay nagawa ng Senado ang obligasyon nito para sa makatuwirang presyo ng bakuna.

“If it’s true that government is now dropping the price of Sinovac vaccine from P1,847.25 per dose to only P650, the Senate has probably done our share to save our people billions of pesos in the country’s vaccination program. Netizens can pat themselves on the back,” paliwanag pa ni Lacson sa kanyang Twitter account.

Related: Lacson: Differences in Sinovac Prices Smack of Corruption
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Lacson: Differences in Sinovac Prices Smack of Corruption

Sharp differences in the prices of Sinovac vaccines in the Philippines and elsewhere may smack of corruption, Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson said Sunday.

Lacson noted that while Sinovac’s product may cost as little as $5 per dose, it may cost as much as a whopping $38 (more than P1,800) in the Philippines.

But Lacson said that if it is true the government is dropping the price of Sinovac vaccines to only P650 per dose, the Senate may have done its share to save billions of pesos in the government’s vaccination efforts.

“If it’s true that government is now dropping the price of Sinovac vaccine from P1,847.25 per dose to only P650, the Senate has probably done our share to save our people billions of pesos in the country’s vaccination program. Netizens can pat themselves on the back,” he said on his Twitter account.

Related: Ping: Presyo ng Sinovac sa Pilipinas, Nangangamoy Katiwalian
Continue reading “Lacson: Differences in Sinovac Prices Smack of Corruption”

#PINGterview: Senate Probe on Red-Tagging; ‘FLR’ in 2021 Budget

In an interview with Senate media, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
* Probing alleged red-tagging, red-baiting
* ‘FLR’ practice in the budget
* ‘Exemptions’ in the mega-task force vs corruption?

QUOTES and NOTES:
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#PINGterview: ‘Uniform’ Appropriations for Several Districts Spotted in DPWH’s 2021 Budget

In an interview on ABS-CBN News Channel, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
* P1-M ‘uniform’ appropriations for at least 42 congressional districts in DPWH’s 2021 budget
* need to prioritize vaccines, R&D in 2021 budget

QUOTES and NOTES:
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On the President’s ‘Offers’ to Resign, Appear before Congress

Screen grab from PCOO

Instead of resigning, the President only needs to be consistent in applying the anti-graft and corruption laws to both friends and foes.

Strong words and warnings may work, but only when backed by political will and followed by concrete actions. There is no better way.

As for his offer to appear before a congressional hearing, that may not be necessary. In fact, the Senate is already proposing in a bill to give him Bayanihan-like powers to address red tape in government.

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On the Initial Findings of Task Force PhilHealth

I want to read the full text of the report first so I can make a more intelligent analysis and responsive comments.

That said, let me just say at the outset that obviously, the materials that we provided and shared with Sec. Guevarra and the composite task force were put into good use at the very least. This is good reason enough to feel gratified that we did our share in taking the first big step in making those criminally and administratively liable for the misuse and abuse of public monies accountable.

At least, for a change, we can hope that these “vultures” will suffer for their misdeeds to satisfy their greed at the expense of the sick and the unhealthy among our countrymen.

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#PINGterview: ‘Haggling’ in DPWH’s Budget for 2021?

In an interview on ANC, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
* items in the proposed budget for 2021
* PhilHealth anomalies
* appointment of Cezar Mancao II to DICT

QUOTES and NOTES:
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On Full Congressional Support for the Universal Health Care

Image: CTTO

Despite the shameless corruption in PhilHealth, the 2021 Universal Health Care budget deserves full support from Congress. But we can – and must – make our health care program more meaningful by immediately putting in jail all those who stole our money, directly or otherwise.

That said, a PhilHealth under new leadership should make sure that the funds it gets for 2021 to implement the Universal Health Care Act go to the intended beneficiaries instead of its favored few.

In the same way that Congress will contribute to the success of the Universal Health Care Act, PhilHealth and the other agencies tasked with implementing it should not contribute to its failure.

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More than Emergency Powers, Strong Political Will Needed to Disinfect PhilHealth

More than “emergency powers” to reorganize PhilHealth, what the President needs is real, honest-to-goodness, strong political will first.

Since PhilHealth is a creation of a law passed by Congress, the President has no statutory power to reorganize the agency, so he actually needs an act of Congress to delegate to him such power or authority.

And if the President’s intention is to cleanse PhilHealth of scalawags and misfits, he may not need that delegated authority anymore as he has the Philippine National Police, National Bureau of Investigation, Department of Justice and other instrumentalities of government at his disposal.

That said, there is no time to lose to exercise such political will: No matter how good our country’s economic managers are, if our health department is below the level of incompetence in the middle of this pandemic, we will all sink before we can even start to swim.

For a start, he can fire its ex-officio chairman and replace him with someone even with little above-average leadership traits, competence, honesty and integrity – and who won’t wash his hands but takes full responsibility for what PhilHealth does or fails to do.

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