MANILA – Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, on Tuesday ordered the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) to track down those involved in the illegal sale of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccines.
Eleazar said the CIDG will work closely with other concerned police units in putting a stop to the illegal activity which endangers the public.
“Kung totoong smuggled ang mga nabebentang bakuna, aalamin natin ang source nito at kung sino ang nasa likod ng pagpupuslit ng mga ito (If the vaccines for sale are really smuggled, we will find out the source and who is behind the smuggling of these items),” Eleazar said in a statement.
He pointed out that the recent arrest of Covid-19 vaccine sellers by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) shows that the confiscated vaccines were smuggled into the country and were fake.
Three suspects were arrested in an operation, while another suspect is at large, according to the NBI.
“We are constantly coordinating with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Department of Health regarding our operations against the illegal sale of vaccines,” he said.
The commercial use of any Covid-19 vaccine in the country is prohibited as these are only approved for emergency use by the FDA.
“Paalala lang natin sa publiko na mapanganib iturok ang mga smuggled na bakuna dahil lumalabas na peke ang mga ito. Imbes na makakuha tayo ng immunity mula sa sakit ay lalong maging dahilan ito ng ating kapahamakan (We are just reminding the public that it is dangerous to inject smuggled vaccines because they turn out to be fake. Instead of gaining immunity from the disease it will only cause more harm),” Eleazar said.
He reiterated that the Covid-19 vaccines being rolled out under the government’s vaccination program are absolutely free and there was no need for the public to spend money to avail of them.
On Monday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said those involved in the illegal sale of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccines should be ashamed of themselves.
“Hindi po ibinebenta ang mga bakuna at hindi po tayo papayag na nanakawin ang bakuna para magkaroon ng pera ang iba. Para sa pandemya po ito (Vaccines are not sold and we will not allow them to be stolen so that others could make a business out of it. This is for the pandemic),” he said.
He said it is inhumane to make a business out of the suffering of other people, especially now that there is a scarce global supply of vaccines.
The Philippines has so far administered some 12 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines administered since the start of its inoculation drive in March. (PNA)