THE ‘underreported news’ that came out of the House’s Health Committee hearing last March 30, 2021, was the “push” by former AFP chief and now, ‘national vaccine czar,’ Secretary Carlito Galvez, on our need for ‘health sufficiency,’ in short, “health security” for our people.
Of course, each day that we continue to do battle with the COVID-19 pandemic—going into two years now– we realize the importance, nay, the need for health security.
This paper, Pinoy Exposé, has repeatedly advocated—and I am even shocked to learn our government had consciously abandoned this after Pres. Marcos—the necessity of having our own research and manufacturing capability to produce our own vaccines.
That we once had this capacity to independently inoculate our own people was also mentioned by Sec. Galvez—our “glorious days” as he puts it—when he mentioned that back in 1939, we even “donated vaccines” to China, a country back then being wracked by civil war and Japanese occupation.
While Sec. Galvez did not mention what specific vaccine we donated, the fact is that, yes Jose, once upon a time, we did, and we can, produce our own vaccines.
And some 82 years after we donated to the people of China, the shoe is literally on the other foot as without the help and donations of China, we would remain in dire straits in our fight against COVID-19.
Our descent to the policy of abandoning any effort towards national health security started when Pres. Marcos was illegally removed from office in 1986; focused on vengeance, topping the agenda of the “democratic” regime of Corazon Aquino was removing or demonizing all projects that Pres. Marcos had started and sustained, among them our vaccine production capacity.
The “ideology of hate” that the Aquinos, the “Dilawans” and the communists against Pres. Marcos made us forget that during his time, we are independently producing against cholera, yellow fever/malaria and tuberculosis, among others. And look where we are now—falling in line and practically “begging” for other countries to provide us with vaccines that we could have easily produced by this time.
Be that as it may, it is not yet too late for our country to “re-start” our vaccine production capacity and capability if we are to succeed in our national vaccination program against COVID-19 and other expected “pandemics” that we have to deal with in the days ahead, the latest as early as 2023, as Sec. Galvez pointed out.
First of all, we have the talent— “among the best in the world,” as Dr. Lulu Bravo of the National Vaccination Foundation has repeatedly stressed—and of course, there is the Filipino’s inherent resiliency and passion to excel in any endeavor, to help us succeed.
Now, let us all hope that this very urgent project is not derailed by the result of next year’s elections.
And yes, in Sec. Galvez’s proposal to “recalibrate” our national health policies, focus should also be made in ridding the FDA and the DOH of the incompetents and the corrupt of which there are aplenty. And you may want to start at the very top of these organizations, Sec. Galvez.
Let us watch and see.