Have faith in the government.
This was the appeal made by San Jose Del Monte City Lone District Rep. Florida “Rida” Robes to the public, even as she drummed up support for the country’s participation in clinical trials for potential coronavirus disease vaccines.
“Ang unang panawagan ko ay palakasin natin ang pananalig sa Panginoong Diyos, pangalawa sa ating gobyerno, higit sa lahat sa Department of Health sapagkat walang puwedeng tumulong sa atin kundi tayo tayo lamang,” Robes, chairperson of the House Committee on People Participation, told the DZBB in an interview.
(My first appeal is to strengthen our in faith in God, second, our faith in the government, especially to the Department of Health because no one will help us except ourselves.)
“Lalabanan natin ang sakit na ito sa pamamagitan ng vaccine, pero kung wala tayong pananampalataya, walang mangyayari sa atin,” she added.
(We will fight this disease through vaccine, but if we will not have faith, nothing will happen.)
In a statement issued on Sept. 11, the Department of Health (DOH) announced that aside from independent vaccine trials, the Philippines will also participate in the World Health Organization's Solidarity Trial for Vaccines, a global effort to rapidly develop and evaluate possible candidate vaccines against the COVID-19.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire earlier announced that the WHO’s solidarity trials may begin in the country by last week of October.
Robes cited the crucial role of various media platforms in convincing the public to “trust” the vaccine trials.
“Right, we are doing in barangay level. We are doing free flu vaccine from the DOH, makikita mo talaga ayaw nila kasi 'di ba may history tayo na nagkaproblema (you can see that they don’t want it, because we had history, we had problems before). But, what we did is really massive information drive, round-the-cock information drive, meaning to say we are using the platform of social media. Media is very very important factor para maintindihan ng taong bayan na ito ay talagang pinag-aralan at dumadaan sa clinical trial (so that the public will know that it is being carefully studied and passed through clinical trial.),” she said.
"Kahit na sa Russia ay okay na ang vaccine na ito, hindi pa rin i-go ng Pilipinas, ng Department of Health kasi talagang inaaral nang mabuti,” she noted.
(Even though this vaccine is okay in Russia, the Philippines, particularly the DOH decided not to approve its use, because it is really being carefully studied.)
During a committee meeting with representatives from the Russian Embassy on the updates of its newly-developed vaccine for COVID-19 on Sept. 3, the Sputnik V, the Robes panel vowed to facilitate cooperation in the conduct of clinical studies of vaccines for COVID-19 to ensure their availability in the country at the earliest possible time.
Robes said considering the situation on the ground, it will still be a long way to go before a vaccine will be approved before its use.
The House leader said the massive information drive for the COVID-19 vaccine is needed to let the people understand its importance not only to public health, but also to the economy.