SENATOR and Chair of the Senate Committee on Health Christopher “Bong” Go called for greater cooperation and constructive exchange of ideas among government officials, medical experts and health advocates to strengthen efforts to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic.
In an interview on Monday,Go reiterated that the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) should continue to pursue a whole-of-nation approach in coming up with science-based recommendations.
“To our officials, let us be more open to suggestions from various stakeholders. We cannot overcome this [pandemic] alone. Kaya nga bayanihan ang sinisigaw natin simula pa lang,” reminded Go.
He added that various sectors are willing to help and should be given the opportunity to contribute to the bayanihan efforts.
“Since day one, open talaga ang IATF at maging si Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte sa mungkahi ng different sectors. In fact, pinapatawag nga ni Pangulo ang mga health experts natin tuwing mayroon siyang dinedesisyunan,” he shared.
Meanwhile, Go shared that the President instructed the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to thoroughly assess and validate claims of various COVID-19 medications applying for permits. He stressed that these should be in accordance with existing laws and regulations to ensure safety and efficacy of these drugs.
“May mga suggestion, may mga gamot na nadiskubre at pinaparating niya agad sa FDA para pag-aralan … Sabi nga ni Pangulong Duterte, kung makakatulong naman ay welcome ito para sa kanya. Siguraduhin muna natin na safe ito dahil buhay ng bawat Pilipino ang nakataya,” he maintained.
Go earlier asked health officials to facilitate a thorough scientific study and consult local and international medical experts on the possible uses, side effects and risks of Ivermectin as a potential medication for treating COVID-19.
“Ang sakin lang, maging bukas ang ating isipan sa mga suhestyon galing sa pribadong sektor at mga health advocates. Ang laban kontra COVID-19 ay hindi lang laban ng gobyerno kundi laban ng buong sambayanan — ng buong mundo. Pakinggan natin ang mga gustong tumulong,” he said earlier.
Go, however, clarified that he is not advocating for the use of Ivermectin or any specific drug to treat COVID-19 but is simply urging the government to have an open dialogue with proponents and facilitate a thorough scientific study of these proposals.
“Pinagsabihan ni [Pangulong Duterte] si FDA Director General Eric Domingo na pag-aralan at siguraduhing safe [ang Ivermectin] at pwedeng gamitin ng tao. So antayin na lang natin. Parati naman namin pina-follow up si Domingo at mayroon nang mga nag-aapply,” said Go.
“Pare-pareho naman tayo ng gusto, ang makapagligtas ng buhay ng maysakit. Importante, proactive tayo at maging bukas tayo sa mga nais tumulong,” he added.
He reminded the public to be cautious since any drug or medical treatment must undergo the necessary scientific and regulatory procedures in order to be deemed safe and effective.
Meanwhile, Go urged proponents of Ivermectin and other drugs to follow the prescribed process of the government in approving and regulating such medicines before it can be prescribed to patients. He emphasized that these rules and regulations are in place to protect the welfare of the public.