Senator Christopher “Bong” Go on Wednesday urged the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) to make sure the COVID-19 vaccines to be used in the clinical trials in the country are safe.
“I implore the DOST, as the lead agency in charge of the clinical trials for the COVID-19 vaccines in Metro Manila, CALABARZON, and Cebu, to ensure that the vaccine trials are expedited but still in accordance with applicable scientific standards,” Go said
“Please make sure that the vaccine is safe. ‘Yun lang po ang importante para po hindi matakot ang ating mga kababayan. Siguraduhin natin na safe ang mga vaccine na nasa trial stages na po sa ngayon,” he added. (It is important that we dispel the doubts or fears of our countrymen. Let us make sure that these vaccines are safe as they are now in the final stages of trials.)
The DOST had earlier said that the World Health Organization’s Solidarity Trial of potential COVID-19 vaccines will likely start in December.
According to DOST Secretary Fortunato dela Peña, once WHO releases the vaccines and protocols, the Philippines can then begin recruiting patients to participate in the trials which will likely be in October.
Meanwhile, Go expressed his support for the proposed budgets of the DOST and the Philippine Space Agency (PSA).
“I express my support for the budget of the Department of Science and Technology and the Philippine Space Agency,” Go said.
“I especially laud the department, led by its very hardworking Secretary Fortunato dela Peña, in striving to continuously improve our efforts in research and development in science and technology. With your efforts, together with the rest of the government, we will overcome this crisis,” he said.
Go also recognized the achievements the science and technology department has attained recently. In the Global Innovation Index 2020, the Philippines rose from 100th in 2014 to 50th this year.
“It is a symbol of hope for the country that is currently fighting the pandemic. Indeed, hard work and the constant pursuit of excellence do pay off. But let us not be complacent,’’ he said.
Go noted that the country, through its science and research arm, “can still improve, and we should. We, in the Legislative Branch, are behind you and will do our part to help.”
On the country’s venture towards becoming a space-capable nation, Go also expressed his excitement over the country’s push for PhilSA.
“I also take this opportunity to express my excitement over the country’s first real push into becoming a space-capable and space-faring nation within the next decade, as embodied in the Philippine Space Act,” Go said.
The PhilSA was formed after the Philippine Space Act was passed into law in July last year. One of its main policies is to safeguard Philippine sovereignty, territorial integrity, Philippine interest, and the right to self-determination as mandated by Article II, Section 7 of the 1987 Constitution. It also intends to support and commit to the development, application, and utilization of science and technology that will foster patriotism and nationalism and accelerate social progress, such as the development of space technology and applications for its security and for the benefit of its citizens.
“Every great nation has the goal of seizing the space frontier and I am happy to see the country take its first steps toward the realization of this lofty goal,” he said.