By Ernie Reyes
MANILA — Senator Risa Hontiveros on Monday urged Beijing to explain and initiate its own investigation on the illegal entry of China-made COVID-19 vaccine in the Philippines which was used to inoculate members of the Presidential Security Group (PSG) guarding the President.
In a statement, Hontiveros said Beijing should investigate the entry of the vaccine and explain the incident, and actively cooperate with Philippine agencies in the inquiry.
“Sa lakas ba naman ng seguridad at surveillance sa China, imposibleng hindi nila malalaman kung sino ang may pakana ng black market vaccines na ito,” she said.
“China must explain. Beijing should lead their own inquiry and submit pertinent information to Philippine agencies. Responsibilidad nilang alamin kung paano nakalabas sa bansa nila at nakarating sa bansa natin ang mga ilegal na bakuna,” Hontiveros said.
The senator believes a Beijing-led investigation is also in China’s best interest: “Transparency from their end could raise the public trust in China-made vaccines, not only in the Philippines but also across the world. Sa huli, makakatulong ito sa pagbangon ng mundo laban sa pandemya.”
Hontiveros hopes the issue of illegal distribution and inoculation would be cleared soon, amid results of a recent Pulse Asia survey indicating that nearly half of Filipinos are unwilling to take the COVID-19 vaccine mainly because they are unsure of its safety.
“Ang mga hindi awtorisadong pagpapabakuna galing sa black market ay isa sa mga maaaring dahilan ng mababang tiwala ng publiko sa COVID-19 vaccine. It is important that only authorized, safe, and registered vaccines will be used, and we must communicate this loudly and clearly,” the senator said.
“Dapat maliwanagan tayo sa mga kababalaghan ng ilegal na pagbabakuna para manumbalik ang tiwala ng bawat mamamayan. Through transparency and accountability, we will be able to restore the public’s trust in our institutions and effectively power through this health and economic crisis,” Hontiveros concluded. (AI/MTVN)