Risa Hontiveros wants ‘wasteful’ vaccine supply chain probed

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Opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros wore a more traditional baro’t saya for President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s  State of the Nation Address (SONA).
Opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros attended President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s State of the Nation Address (SONA).

Opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros filed a resolution on Monday (August 1) seeking to investigate the vaccine supply chain in light of unused and expired COVID-19 vaccines, saying that the “large-scale wastage [of vaccines] should never be tolerated.”

Ang bottom-line, sayang ang pera o supply, kanino man iyan. Kasi pinagtrabahuhan natin ang pondo na iyan. Tapos, ang ending, itatapon lang pala,” the senator said.

(The bottom line, money or supply was wasted whomever it came from. Because we work for those funds. But in the end, it will just be disposed.)

Hontiveros highlighted how there is more to the vaccine supply chain than procurement.

Palaging inaanunsyo na ang dami-dami na nating bakuna, pero hindi naman sa procurement natatapos ang kwento,” she said. “Baka naman may oversupply na tayo kaya may hindi nagagamit at nasasayang.”

(We always announce that we have a lot of vaccines, but the story does not end in procurement. It could be that we have an oversupply that’s just not being used or is put to waste.)

She added, “Huwag naman sanang ipangalandakan na dinaig pa nila si Asyong Aksaya. Dapat may managot dito.”

(Nobody should be proud of beating Asyong Aksaya. Somebody must be held accountable for this.)

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, Department of Health, and COVID-19 czars are among those that need to be questioned in the investigation, Hontiveros said.

A total of 4.2 million doses of COIVD-19 vaccines bought by the private sector expired, resulting in the loss of about P5.1 billion.

The Philippines has recently recorded new cases of the Centaurus, another emerging Omicron subvariant, after two individuals in Central Visayas tested positive for COVID-19.

Named officially by the World Health Organization (WHO) as BA.2.75, Centaurus is said to be more contagious, and capable of being vaccine-resistant.

Mark Ernest Famatigan is a news writer who focuses on Philippine politics. He is an advocate for press freedom and regularly follows developments in the Philippine economy. The views expressed are his own.

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