Lawmaker to Roque: Blame Duterte’s threats, poor info drive for vaccine chaos

Published August 7, 2021, 11:18 AM

by Mario Casayuran

House Assistant Minority Leader and Gabriela Women’s Party Representative Arlene Brosas on Saturday, August 7, said the vaccine chaos on the eve of the third enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila was mainly caused by President Duterte’s repeated threats against the unvaccinated, aside from the government’s poor information drive on COVID-19 vaccines.

People wait in line for their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine at SM Manila on Aug. 5, 2021. (ALI VICOY/MANILA BULLETIN)

“Hesitant pa itong si Spokesperson Roque na ituro ang kanyang Pangulo bilang nagtulak ng kaguluhan sa bakunahan. Sino ba ang nagsabing huhulihin o di kaya’y ipapa-escort sa barangay ang mga di bakunado (Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque is hesitant in blaming President Duterte for the chaos on the vaccination of Filipinos. Who said that the unvaccinated would be arrested or escorted back home)?” Brosas asked.

“Puro pananakot ang Pangulo, eh kulang naman pala ang suplay ng bakuna (The President constantly issues threats but government lacks vaccines). Wala ring maayos na vaccine info-drive ang pamahalaan (Government’s info-drive is not good). This third season of ECQ would again go to waste. We could have been doing house-to-house vaccinations if only our vaccine supplies were enough,” she added.

Brosas asked why the P1.59 billion budget for Presidential Communications Operations Office’s (PCOO) is not being maximized for vaccine information drives.

“Nalimita rin ang akses ng publiko sa tamang impormasyon matapos ipasara ng Pangulo ang ABS-CBN (Public access to correct information has been limited due to the closure of ABS-CBN),’’ she also noted.

The Gabriela Women’s Party lawmaker also urged the Duterte administration to bare the procurement deals for the country’s vaccine supplies, stressing that total financing for the vaccination program stands at P82.5 billion.

“Malacanang has yet to account the spending of the P82.5 billion for vaccine procurement, administration and logistical needs. Magkano halimbawa ang ibinayad sa Sinovac at iba pang pharmaceutical companies? Magkano pa ang natitira sa pondong ito?” she said.

“Puro pa-welcome at photo ops sa pagdating ng bakuna pero yung paggastos para sa bakuna, hindi nila maipakita (While government officials are shown by media welcoming the arrival from abroad of vaccines, it has not itemized its expenditures on vaccines),” she added.