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The Good News

Fighting our own battles

The Philippine Star

For the second year, the Philippines – and the entire world – continues to reel amidst the vicious and deadly assault of COVID-19. This pandemic, which has killed more people than any world war in memory, has also brought about a new normal in humanity’s daily life – wearing face masks and face shields every time we step out of the house.

Philippine authorities report a daily average of 9,918 new infections each day, with the highest daily average reported last April 15. We have seen close to a million infections and about 16,500 coronavirus-related deaths in the country since the pandemic began last year. Nobody but nobody is saying there is light at the end of the tunnel.

The vaccine, our only hope to ultimately defeat this horrendous scourge, is sadly beyond the reach of the daily wage earners who need it just as desperately as the wealthiest.

It is the government’s turn, the legislative department included, to get their act together and set in motion a comprehensive yet practical anti-COVID-19 program meant to deliver – without fail – the desired results.The bottom line is to get every Filipino innoculated.

For that to happen, the government should have access to a safe, dependable and trusted supply of vaccines.This would require Congress to allocate funding for a research and development facility for a sustained and continuing study of deadly viruses and developing the corresponding vaccines. And yes, why not tap the resources and expertise of time-tested Filipino privately owned enterprises, notably the pharmaceutical firm United Laboratories (Unilab).

To ensure success, the facility must partner with a foreign pharmaceutical company already into extensive vaccine research and production. With the research and development done here, the country will be equipped with the science and tools to proactively combat viruses. Local scientists and doctors will benefit immensely with new knowledge from foreign counterparts.

It also assures a ready and stable supply of vaccines for COVID and we will be one step ahead in fighting future maladies. No more begging for other country’s surplus vaccines. Never shall we be held hostage by a country dangling vaccine supplies while silently supplanting our territory.

Filipinos have made their mark as gritty survivors of the worst trials and tribulations imaginable. Let us show the whole world we can fight our own battles right here in our homeland. We cannot allow this infinitesimal virus to permanently destroy the very fabric of our social and economic life.  –  Dante U. Vino, duvino@gmail.com

COVID-19
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