Sen. Panfilo Lacson on Tuesday egged the Health Department and Food and Drug Administration to speed up the rollout of COVID vaccines, as they are putting the national government in an embarrassing situation.
Lacson said the DOH and FDA should exercise their power to issue compassionate special permits especially for those who most need them.
“Why don’t they exercise their power to issue a compassionate special permit? Their officials keep claiming they are still conducting studies. Mamamatay tayo sa ka-study eh,” he said in an interview on TeleRadyo.
“We have to start the rollout of the vaccines soonest. Kahiya-hiya ang nangyayari sa atin,” he added.
Lacson lamented such lack of action has worsened the situation where some officials dropped the ball in procuring vaccines from other countries.
Even China has been “victimized” by such incompetence, Lacson said as he narrated the experience of a friend who had dinner with Chinese ambassador Huang Xilian recently.
He said the friend recalled Huang’s observation that while some Philippine officials indicated they want to procure vaccines from China, no one wanted to commit.
Without such a commitment from Philippine officials to procure China-made vaccines, Lacson noted “China may allocate them to other countries.”
On the other hand, Lacson said it is shameful that the prospective entry of vaccines to the Philippines stemmed from the initiative of the private sector instead of the government.
“Isn’t it disgusting that the private sector is taking the lead to bring in vaccines? This should put the government to shame, especially considering that the Department of Finance has announced multimillion-peso loans for vaccines,” he said.
“Nakailang loan na tayo sa vaccine, bakit hanggang ngayon wala pang vaccine?” he added, stressing the priority now is to focus on the immunization of 110 million Filipinos.