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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.