MANILA, Philippines — Senator Risa Hontiveros on Monday called on the Chinese government to investigate the entry of China-made vaccines in the Philippines, which are not yet authorized by local regulators.
“Sa lakas ba naman ng seguridad at surveillance sa China, imposibleng hindi nila malalaman kung sino ang may pakana ng black market vaccines na ito,” Hontiveros said in a statement.
(With the capabilities of China’s security and surveillance, it’s impossible that they would not know who is behind the black market vaccines.)
She said the Chinese government should actively cooperate with concerned Philippine agencies in its investigation on the issue.
“China must explain. Beijing should lead their own inquiry and submit pertinent information to Philippine agencies. Responsibilidad nilang alamin kung paano nakalabas sa bansa nila at nakarating sa bansa natin ang mga ilegal na bakuna,” the senator added.
(China must explain. Beijing should lead their own inquiry and submit pertinent information to Philippine agencies. It’s their responsibility to know how these vaccines got out of their borders.)
Hontiveros said a Beijing-led investigation will also be for China’s best interest.
“Transparency from their end could raise the public trust in China-made vaccines, not only in the Philippines but also across the world. Sa huli, makakatulong ito sa pagbangon ng mundo laban sa pandemya,” she said.
(Transparency from their end could raise the public trust in China-made vaccines, not only in the Philippines but also across the world. In the end, this will help the world recover from the pandemic.)
While it has yet to be confirmed what vaccine brand the Presidential Security Group members were given, the President previously disclosed that many Filipinos, including soldiers, have already received the COVID-19 vaccine of China’s Sinopharm vaccine.
The Department of Justice has already ordered the conduct of an investigation into the smuggling of COVID-19 vaccines into the country.
Hontiveros expressed hopes that the issue of the unauthorized distribution and inoculation would soon be cleared in light of a recent Pulse Asia survey, which showed that
“The unauthorized inoculation with black market vaccines may be one of the reasons for the public’s low confidence on the COVID-19 vaccine. It is important that only authorized, safe, and registered vaccines will be used, and we must communicate this loudly and clearly,” she added in Filipino.
“We should be enlightened regarding this illegal vaccination to heighten the confidence of the public with vaccination. Through transparency and accountability, we will be able to restore the public’s trust in our institutions and effectively power through this health and economic crisis.”