Go asks public to trust government on vaccination program

(The Philippine Star) - January 20, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Bong Go has asked Filipinos to trust the national government when it comes to the procurement and subsequent rollout of sufficient, safe and effective vaccines against COVID-19 across the country.

“First of all, I wish to commend my colleagues for our collective effort to help the government and our people in overcoming the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. This is a testament that through our bayanihan efforts, we can recover as one,” Go said in his manifestation during the Senate regular session the other day.

He also renewed his earlier request to vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. to further explain to the Filipino public the national vaccine roadmap to overcome public reluctance and build vaccine confidence.

“I urge Secretary Galvez to explain the process further without compromising ongoing efforts to procure and administer as many vaccines as needed for our people. And out of transparency, maybe we can ask him if he can disclose the prices at the appropriate time to allay any doubts of the public, not only of Sinovac, but of all vaccines,” Go said during his speech.

The senator said he trusts and has confidence in Galvez, who will always “uphold the interest of the Filipino people when negotiating for our vaccines.”

“After all, these procurements by the national government are done through multi-lateral agreements with fund managers, such as the Asian Development Bank and World Bank,” he noted.

He also highlighted that there has been no change in President Duterte’s commitment to ensure that the national vaccination program – from approval to rollout and implementation – is safe, sure and secure.

As to the disclosure of prices of vaccines, Go stressed that government officials handling the negotiations are required by law to abide by non-disclosure agreements with all pharmaceutical companies developing these vaccines.

Meanwhile, Go reiterated his appeal to concerned authorities to expedite the process of acquiring vaccines and collaborate with the private sector and local government units for the proper implementation of the National COVID-19 Vaccine Roadmap.

In view of some questions regarding the final prices of vaccines against COVID-19, Go also urged the agencies involved to be transparent and prudent in using the country’s limited resources.

As chair of the Senate committee on health, the senator reminded the national government that they are still mandated to ensure proper and full accounting of public funds used and these should be disclosed to the public at the proper time without compromising the ongoing negotiations.

As to those spreading misinformation and taking advantage of the vulnerabilities of Filipinos during these challenging times, Go appealed to them to “join the bayanihan efforts instead.” He also renewed his call for a measure that will punish those who continue to take advantage of the current situation.

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