Press Release
January 25, 2019

Dispatch from Crame No. 454:
Sen. Leila M. de Lima's Statement on Sowing Fear for Politic's and Ambition's Sake


Our country's immunization program is now in a quandary and our children's health is under threat because of the vaccine scare triggered by the grandstanding of Public Attorney's Office (PAO) Chief Persida Acosta to be in Duterte's good graces.

She who has nothing to do with the medical profession turned the Dengvaxia case into a horrifying expose of unsubstantiated claims and even went against the findings of health experts and the Department of Health (DOH) to exaggerate or sensationalize the problem and put the blame on the previous administration.

Latest reports show an increasing number of measles and dengue cases compared to previous years, with news of outbreaks in many provinces. Yet, the more alarming is the DOH's report that parents refuse to get their children immunized even for vital vaccines against measles, flu, polio, and diphtheria after the Dengvaxia scare.

PAO Chief Acosta should be reminded that the children are not pawns for her political game and ambitions. If she is truly bent on finding the truth about the cause of deaths of the children vaccinated with Dengvaxia, she must do the right thing for the bereaved families want nothing less than the truth. She can only serve that purpose within the confines of legal arena and medical science, not outside, in the public sphere, as if the truth over the death of the children can be decided by public opinion and not through the better guidance of forensic analysis.

Buhay at kalusugan ng libo-libong kabataan ang nakataya rito, kaya kung may katotohanang dapat hanapin sa likod ng Dengvaxia vaccine, saliksikin, hindi pulitikahin. Sa halip na hanapan ng solusyon ang problema, higit pa ninyong pinalalala at binabalot sa takot ngayon ang publiko.

Now, this problem concerns everyone because an outbreak of diseases can harm all. Even if DOH has ready vaccines to prevent this from happening, it's being dragged down by the need to do damage control to allay first the misgivings of the people.

This government, through PAO Chief Acosta, has eroded with just one act of political witch hunting what the DOH has worked for in decades - getting the public's trust to its immunization programs and ensuring that children even from poor families are protected from preventable diseases.

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