On the (Lack of) Choices for Vaccines

It’s not fair to say that Filipinos cannot choose their vaccines, at least from those made available by the government.

It’s bad enough that the national government virtually controls which brand/s of vaccines to procure. Pati ba naman ang pagpili kung ano ituturok sa braso ng mga Pilipino, hindi pa rin pwede mamili ang Pilipino?

Bakit ko naman pipiliin ang brand na 50% lang ang efficacy at wala man lang application for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA), against other brands with 79% and/or 95% efficacy and have pending EUA approval from the Food and Drug Administration?

Having said that, we can only pray and hope that the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Department of Health properly implement the vaccination plan they laid out during our Senate hearing Monday.

While the plan may sound good, the difference is in the implementation – the reaction and responses to emergencies. Without proper execution, a plan no matter how good it is written and presented, won’t mean anything.


#PINGterview: Dapat May Makulong na sa Katiwalian sa PhilHealth!

In an interview on DWIZ, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
* Expectations at President Duterte’s SONA [00:11]
* Latest corruption and mismanagement at PhilHealth [07:20]
* Claims that IATF is a failure in dealing with COVID-19 [37:04]

Continue reading “#PINGterview: Dapat May Makulong na sa Katiwalian sa PhilHealth!”

#PINGterview: Mensahe sa ABS-CBN; Kritiko ng Anti-Terror Law; PNP; DOH

In an interview on Abante Radyo Tabloidista, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
* ABS-CBN franchise [30:25]
* Fake news vs Anti-Terrorism Law [37:22]
* Cops accused of violating the law [16:07]
* Dealing with COVID at home [21:20]
* DOH issues in handling COVID pandemic [24:05]

Continue reading “#PINGterview: Mensahe sa ABS-CBN; Kritiko ng Anti-Terror Law; PNP; DOH”

#PINGterview: DOH, Epicenter ng Kapalpakan vs COVID; IATF, Dumiretso na sa Pangulo!

In an interview on DWIZ, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
* overpricing at DOH amid COVID-19 threat [0:19]
* DOH insiders provided information on irregularities [4:12]
* expose is meant to put DOH on notice [5:58]
* wrong decisions due to wrong data [11:12]
* IATF members dismayed with DOH performance [22:50]
* proposed tax on Netflix [25:48]

Continue reading “#PINGterview: DOH, Epicenter ng Kapalpakan vs COVID; IATF, Dumiretso na sa Pangulo!”

#PINGterview: Mensahe sa Mga Pasaway sa Quarantine; Testing at Contact Tracing, Kulang Pa Rin!

In an interview on DZRH, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
* post-ECQ scenarios [1:01]
* continued lack of testing, contact tracing [2:46]
* Senate teleconferencing due to COVID-19 [12:59]
* Pagcor allowing reopening of POGO [21:48]
* mensahe sa mga pasaway [28:21]

Continue reading “#PINGterview: Mensahe sa Mga Pasaway sa Quarantine; Testing at Contact Tracing, Kulang Pa Rin!”

On Age-Based Restriction in COVID-19 Quarantine

Many senior citizens are far healthier and have stronger immune systems than their younger counterparts. To indiscriminately prohibit them from going out of their homes is not only arbitrary. It is downright insensitive.

Just to give credence to my argument: Ang ibang male Senate staff ko nga na di hamak na mas bata kesa sa akin, hindi makasabay sa akin pag gumagamit ako ng stairs paakyat sa sixth floor office ko. Yung iba naman, laging may sipon at laging uubo-ubo. Samantalang ako, laging malakas ang immune system.

Did those behind such a blanket age-based restriction think the idea through thoroughly? If they think they did, they should have their heads examined first by Dr. Clarita Avila – the chief administrative officer of the National Center for Mental Health who was gagged before being “demoted” and reassigned to the Drug Abuse Treatment and Rehabilitation Center in Las Piñas City by authority of the Secretary of Health, for issuing updates on the COVID-19 situation in the facility – before coming out with inconsiderate ideas like this latest one.

The Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases may need to rethink this policy such that it does not impose unfair restrictions on seniors, especially those who are physically fit. The dire question is: When will we see other sweeping and irrational moves?


On the DOH’s ‘Adjustments’ in Dealing with the COVID-19 Threat

At last, the Department of Health leadership is making some adjustments to address the COVID-19 threat, but only now after so much time has been wasted.

For one, through the private sector’s initiative in coordination with the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases and other government agencies, massive rapid testing will start tomorrow, April 14, if it is not being done already.

Secondly, contact tracing, hopefully, will now be more efficient with the latest guideline issued by IATF for mandatory disclosure of COVID-19 infected persons for more efficient self-quarantine.

Thirdly, after a long and unnecessary delay, the FDA approved the use of test kits – including at least 10 rapid antibody test kits and 23 PCR-based test kits as of April 8. The delay was amid the willingness of private donors to spend big money to help accelerate mass testing through the use of rapid antibody test kits, and even after we asked the FDA about the usefulness of such rapid test kits as early as our March 24 caucus prior to our 18-hour plenary debates to pass Republic Act 11469 (Bayanihan to Heal As One Act) on the same day, with some Cabinet members in attendance.

What I can’t understand for the life of me is why the DOH keeps issuing circulars that seem to circumvent Sec 4(j) of the Bayanihan Act that provides for some leeway for donated test kits that otherwise have already been in use in other jurisdictions, by mandating the turnover of all donations to DOH but would not allow its use. This is compounded by a requirement for accreditation that includes, among others, an application by the manufacturer or distributor of such health products. Since these are donations and therefore not for business purposes, how in the world will these donors look for local distributors, or look for the manufacturer to file for an application? Sec 4(j) specifically states that all donated health products need only a certification from the regulatory agency/ies of the country that allows the use of such health products for FDA to approve the same.

On the other hand, there is no saying that Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. is not doing a good job as chief implementer of the government’s national response against COVID-19, by playing catch-up for the inadequacies of some people.