Drilon: New compensation law on vaccine victims not needed

Published January 18, 2021, 6:25 PM

by Vanne Elaine Terrazola

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said Monday that there is no need for a new law that would ensure compensation for Filipinos who would suffer serious reactions from COVID-19 vaccines.

Sen. Franklin Drilon

Drilon, a former justice secretary, said there are enough laws and resources that could be used for the indemnification of those who would experience adverse effects following their immunization against the novel coronavirus disease.

“The government has enough funds and there are principles under our Civil Code na nagsasabing kung negligent ang pamahalaan (if the government has been negligent in its dealings),” he said in an online interview with reporters.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, during the Senate Committee of the Whole’s hearing on the government’s vaccination program last Friday, January 15, asked lawmakers to craft a measure that would set aside an indemnification funds for those who would have serious ailments after they were injected with COVID-19 vaccines.

The compensation would depend on the severity of the side effects, he said.

But Drilon said: “Hindi ko maintidihan si Secretary Duque kung ano ‘yong batas na gusto niyang gawin na hindi pa covered ng batas ngayon (I don’t understand Secretary Duque what measures he wants us to make that is still not covered by existing laws).”

He mentioned the complaints filed against public officials in the so-called Dengvaxia controversy, when deaths were blamed to the dengue immunization program implemented by the government using the vaccines supplied by pharmaceutical giant Sanofi.

“Wala naman pong bagong batas diyan. Ang ginagamit pa rin ‘yong batas ngayon. (No new laws were used there in those cases),” he said.

Implementers of the COVID-19 inoculation program earlier said that vaccine manufacturers were reluctant to take responsibility for their products because clinical trials are still ongoing in various countries. This was also their reason for their refusal to directly negotiate with local government units and private companies.

At present, regulators are issuing emergency use authorization (EUA) for the use of the coronavirus vaccines for the mass immunization program.

Duque earlier assured that they would consider the specific indications of the candidate vaccines in their administration to vaccine receivers.