Aquino: No one opposed Dengvaxia implementation

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DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Former President Benigno Aquino III Thursday attended the Senate blue ribbon committee investigation as a resource person to shed light on the purchase of the controversial anti-dengue vaccine Dengvaxia which costs the government PHP3.5 billion.

Aquino was invited because the vaccine purchased and  implemented during his term of office.

Senator Richard Gordon, chairperson of the committee earlier manifested “I see strong signs of conspiracy” in the vaccine purchase was it was eve of the 2016 elections.

Appearing before Senate investigation, Aquino claimed he was not advised against Dengvaxia from the time of procurement until it was administered.

No one opposed

In a statement, Aquino emphasized “Bago nagdesisyon ang gobyerno sa Dengvaxia, habang nagdedesisyon, pagkatapos magdesisyon at hanggang sa ngayon, walang nagparating sa akin ng pagtutol sa bakuna (Before the government decided to purchase Dengvaxia, while making the decision, after making the decision, and until now, there were no parties that reached me that objected to the vaccine).

The Aquino administration bought P3.5 billion-worth of dengue vaccine from Sanofi Pasteur in 2016. The national immunization program began a month before the presidential elections in May.

In November 2017, Sanofi Pasteur, the manufacturer, however revealed Dengvaxia may lead to more severe forms of dengue in those not infected by the virus before.

But Aquino stated he was told by experts Dengvaxia went through safety and efficacy tests.

“Sa aking pagkaunawa, sa lahat ng ibinalita ng eksperto, dumaan na po ito sa lahat ng proseso para malaman ang kaniyang efficacy at mas importante, ang kanyang safety ( Based on my understanding, as told by experts, it underwent the process to find its efficacy and safety.)

He added the U.S. Food and Drug Administration cleared the vaccine.

Aquino not responsible

Health reform advocate Dr. Anthony Leachon said Aquino cannot be faulted if he was given “misleading” information on Dengvaxia.

“How can you blame the president if the president was fed with wrong information by WHO or Secretary Garin?” he said, referring to the World Health Organization and former Health Secretary Janette Garin.

Former Health Secretary Janette Garin administered the first Debgvaxia dose to grade 4 pupil Beatrice Wanda Soria during the ceremonial launch of the anti-dengue vaccine at Parang Elementary School.Photo from

During the press briefing after the probe, Aquino said that the purchase of the vaccines is an attempt to alleviate his successor of problems in the country.

“When I talk about my successor, one of the tests if I did well or not is I left him or her, with less problems than what I had. I think this is one of the efforts to achieve that. ‘Yung problema natin taun-taon sa dengue, sana hindi na pareho ‘yung problema, may asenso na ‘yung nangyari(Our problems on dengue should be less difficult to manage.)

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, President Rodrigo Duterte believes the former administration’s procurement of the vaccine was done in good faith.


The World Health Organization said the Philippines launched its dengue immunization program before WHO issued its “recommendation” or guidelines for countries to consider introducing Dengvaxia to its programs.

Aquino said that this was the reason why an immunization program was launched in NCR, Calabarzon, and Central Luzon in 2015.

He said that because he vowed to leave the Philippines better than it was before, he felt that purchasing the vaccines would be beneficial.

The US Food and Drug Administration also assured them that they regulated international trials.

.To date, the DOH has stopped implementation of its program.

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday said it never recommended to countries the use Dengvaxia in their national immunization programs.

“The WHO position paper did not include a recommendation to countries to introduce the dengue vaccine into their national immunization programs,” WHO said in a statement.

Aquino came upon the invitation of the committee. This is the first time Aquino, a former senator, returned to the Senate since he was elected president in 2010.

Children still mum

While government officials are passing the blame to one another, the over 800 Filipino children injected with Dengvaxia has yet to tell their storyies.

Until now, the government has yet to announce the contingency measure it will adopt to address the concerns of those injected with the vaccine. -Editha Z. Caduaya/


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