Philippines

Ubial to Garin: Do not drag others to Dengvaxia mess

Ubial to Garin: Do not drag others to Dengvaxia mess
By Leilani Junio

MANILA(Philippines News Agency) — Former Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial on Tuesday asked her predecessor, Janette Garin, to stop dragging her and others to the Dengvaxia mess.

“Will her liability lessen if we get included (in the filing of cases)? If I were her, just get down to defending her actions and not point the blame at others or wish others to go down with her,” she said in a text message to reporters.

Ubial said Garin has included her and former health secretary Enrique Ona as among those responsible for the implementation of the dengue vaccination program in 2016.

“I just hope she stops talking about these, blaming me and others. She should just defend her actions and stop pointing fingers at me. I did everything in DOH (Department of Health) to help as many people as possible in the spirit of President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s call of ‘malasakit’ (concern),” she said.

Ubial noted that when she was assistant secretary, she had objected to the timing of the administration of the vaccine.

“What I objected to as Assistant Secretary was the timing. I said, we in the EPI (Expanded Program on Immunization) do not introduce new vaccines during election year, because no matter how good that vaccine is, it will be tainted as to (the) motives and hidden agenda to introduce it, and people, parents, health workers will always question motives. That was my main objection,” she said.

In the draft report by the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, chaired by Senator Richard Gordon, Garin, former president Benigno Aquino III, and former budget secretary Butch Abad were named as “primary conspirators” in the implementation of the vaccination program.

Prior to her appointment as health secretary, Ubial served as assistant secretary during Garin’s term.

Ubial also denied Garin’s accusation that as health secretary, she was the one responsible for the issue on absence of parental consent.

“I did not remove the parental consent! I have memo to prove that. It was her (Garin’s) people left in the DOH that sabotaged the program! But we cannot prove that,” she added.

On Monday, Garin slammed Ubial for publicly “washing her hands” over the Dengvaxia controversy during the recent Senate hearing on the dengue vaccination program.

Garin, in a media forum in Manila, claimed that Ubial was quick to say during the Senate inquiry that she was “under pressure” to continue and expand the implementation of the immunization program. (PNA)

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