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Atienza, Garin butt heads over Dengvaxia vaccine

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Buhay party-list Rep. Lito Atienza quarreled with Iloilo Rep. Janette Garin during Tuesday’s plenary session after the former questioned if anybody had been made to account for the Dengvaxia fiasco, which took place under Garin’s watch as DOH secretary.

“May nanagot na ba sa malaking abusong ginawa sa implementasyon ng Dengvaxia vaccination program na hanggang ngayon ay nagdudulot ng matinding takot at pangamba sa mga magulang?” Atienza said during his interpellation of Bagong Henerasyon Partylist Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy regarding the resurgence of polio.

Polio’s reemergence in the country after years of absence has been attributed to the loss of confidence in the government’s vaccination programs.

Atienza pointed out that ever since the misapplication of the Dengvaxia vaccine, parents all over the country have refrained from having their children vaccinated out of fear that it might do their children more harm than good.

“We cannot blame mothers for losing confidence in the government’s vaccination program, specially after the Dengvaxia scandal during the past administration,” he said.

“Wala na pong tiwala ang ating mamamayan sa bakuna dahil hindi na ito maaasahan. Hindi po pera ang naging problema, kung hindi ang misapplication ng bakuna sa mga bata,” Atienza said.

Garin reacted angrily at Atienza’s comments.

She made a point of order, asking why Atienza was allowed to spread “misinformation,” and called for a roll call.

To which Atienza replied, “Let us stop swindling the Filipino people and the wastage of funds in your Dengvaxia campaign. I am sure hindi na yan mangyayari ulit because we have a good, efficient and competent Secretary, in the person of Secretary Duque.”

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