By Hannah L. Torregoza
Former President Benigno S. Aquino III yesterday defended his administration’s decision to approve the procurement of Dengvaxia.
Appearing at the probe conducted by the Senate Blue Ribbon and Health and Demography Committees on the P3.5-billion program, Aquino said as far as he is concerned, no one opposed the government dengue immunization program before, during, and after the purchase of Dengvaxia was approved.
“Diin ko lang po: Bago nagdesisyon ang gobyerno sa Dengvaxia, habang nagdedesisyon, pagkatapos magdesisyon, at hanggang sa ngayon, walang nagparating sa akin ng pagtutol sa bakuna,” Aquino said.
“Kaya natin inilunsad ito sa NCR, Calabarzon, at Central Luzon, dahil ayon sa datos ng DoH, ito po ang tatlong pinaka-apektadong mga rehiyon nung 2015 kaugnay ng dengue,” he said.
Aquino said there was no malice on the part of the government when they decided to launch the immunization program in these three areas, which, Sen. Richard J. Gordon said, are the three regions with the highest voting population.
Gordon had intimated the inoculation of Dengvaxia vaccines to more than 800,000 schoolchildren in these regions was politically motivated since it was done at the height of the May 2016 elections.
Aquino said his administration should not be faulted for coming up with an anti-dengue program as it had to act on the recommendation of then Health Secretary Enrique Ona on the need to address the increasing number of dengue cases.
He said Ona, in a memorandum sent to his office dated Aug. 23, 2010, highlighted that five regions registered higher incidence of dengue cases and two of these regions had more than a 100 percent increase.
Region 8, Aquino said, recorded a 1,409.5 percent increase and health experts cannot explain why dengue cases surged in the area when it was not even as congested as Metro Manila or Metro Cebu.
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