OFF TANGENT - Aven Piramide (The Freeman) - February 28, 2021 - 12:00am

On March 8, 2014, almost exactly seven years ago today, Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 disappeared while flying from Kuala Lumpur International Airport to its planned destination, Beijing Capital International Airport. Searchers from many countries combined their resources and expertise in looking for the lost plane. They combed vast breadths of the world’s oceans hoping to hear a ping from the jet. Ping is a sound like the one I used as a young boy during our wargames. “Ping, igo siya”.

But more than a sound, Ping, according to the dictionary is a pulse of sound waves reflected from or emitted by a submerged object in a submarine and heard by special apparatus. When the search for the lost MAS370 was still going on, investigators said that even if the jet plunged to the depths of the ocean, it would still be able to send the ping.

True to the off-tangent nature of this column, I dare to submit an analogy. I am fully aware that this opinion has the chance of disturbing some of those who walk in the corridors of power. I analogize that there is a Ping in the Sinovac, the vaccine produced by Communist China which allows the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte to monitor it. The Ping (signal) updates our high government officials about the production status of Sinovac. When Pfizer and Oxford University announced that they were at the cusp of producing a vaccine to fight the Chinese-originated COVID-19 virus, our government leaders began pitching for Sinovac even if the Red Chinese laboratory had not yet filed any paper for its emergency use authority.

I submit that a Ping coming from the bowels of Communist China probably prodded our high officials to “drop the ball” if I were to use the words of our top honcho in the Department of Foreign Affairs. We learned from news reports that because someone “dropped the ball” we missed the chance of getting the earliest shipments of the American-German vaccine. The Ping must have indeed alerted our officials that the Sinovac was not yet ready so that the ball had to be dropped to prevent the Pfizer from being bought much ahead.

The world applauded when nurse May Parsons, a Filipina migrant to England, administered the first vaccine on December 8, 2020. That was more than two months ago (by the way, by reason mainly of the failed leadership of President Duterte, only the Philippines and Timor Leste among all members of the ASEAN do not have any vaccine yet). And I offer the idea that because our government loves so much the Sinovac, it resorts to delaying the completion of papers for Pfizer to land our shores. The non-signing of the Indemnity Agreement was, to me, a subterfuge so that instead of a first two weeks of February timeline for Pfizer to arrive, the date had to be moved to late February.

The Ping from our communist neighbor must have alerted our top leaders that Sinovac was ready. Out of the blue, the FDA announced that the EUA of the Red Chinese vaccine was approved. The next bulletin --that the Sinovac was arriving in three days-- was not surprising. That it is only 50.4% effective compared to the efficacy rate of Pfizer at almost 95% does not matter anymore.

Whoever monitored the Sinovac ping must have thought that we are a bunch of morons unable to comprehend their chicanery!

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