NBI to probe if ‘foul play’ seen in Zamboanga del Sur fire that destroyed 148,678 doses of vaccines

Published November 2, 2021, 2:31 PM

by Jeffrey Damicog

Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra

“If there are any indications of foul play,” the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) will be tapped to probe the Oct. 31 fire that hit the provincial health office of Zamboanga del Sur where 148,678 doses of COVID-19 vaccines were destroyed, Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra said on Tuesday, Nov. 2.

In the meantime, Guevarra said he is letting the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) take its first crack on the fire incident. “We’ll wait for the initial assessment of the Bureau of Fire Protection,” he said.

If the need arises, he assured that “I will request the NBI regional office to step in.”

The fire hit the three-storey building of the provincial health office last Sunday night.

In a joint statement, the National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19 and the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases said that 148,678 doses of vaccines against COVID-19 were destroyed.

“The National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19 together with the Department of Health (DOH), the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), and the National Vaccination Operations Center (NVOC) are closely monitoring developments in the incident’s investigation,” the joint statement said.

Based on initial reports, the fire destroyed 9,176 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines, 14,400 doses of Moderna vaccines, 88,938 doses of Pfizer vaccines, and 36,164 doses of Sinovac vaccines.

The fire also destroyed routine immunization vaccines allocated for the province.