Category: politics

dengue, dengvaxia, #DengGate

ke naturukan (ka o) ang anak mo o hindi ng dengvaxia, kailangang mag-ingat, at maging mapag-bantay at alerto sa kalagayan ng ating paligid, gayon din sa mga senyales ng dengue.

MAG-INGAT SA LAMOK.  hindi lahat ng lamok ay nagdadala ng dengue virus pero mahirap sabihin kung alin, samakatuwid, matakot sa lahat ng lamok, ke sa araw o sa gabi nangangagat.

tiyakin na sa paligid ng bahay ay WALANG MGA GAMIT NA WALANG TAKIP — LATA, BOTE, MASETERA, GULONG, BARADONG ALULOD atbp. — KUNG SAAN MAY NAIIPONG TUBIG-ULAN NANG MATAGALAN (stagnant water)  sapagkat diyan mismo namumugad at nanganganak ang mga lamok na may dalang dengue.

4 years old ang panganay ko (in 1977) nang umuwi ito galing pre-school na may sinat.  lagnat-laki lang sana, dasal ko.  baka tempra lang ok na.  on the second, third day of fever (38+) dinala ko na siya sa pediatrician na nag-prescribe lang ng mas malakas na anti-lagnat (di ko na maalala ang name, gifaril yata).  over the next day, tumataas pa rin ang lagnat, tumapak na sa 39+, isinusuka ang gamot, at bahagya ko nang mapainom ng tubig o mapakain, kaya’t itinakbo na namin sa ospital.

isang tingin ng ER residents sa inner fold ng braso niya, kung saan meron na palang red rashes — gangga-tuldok ng karayom bawat isa — alam na nila.  H-fever pa ang tawag sa dengue noon.  agad siyang kinabitan ng suwero, kinunan ng dugo, at agad rin nalamang bagsak na ang bilang ng kanyang blood platelets — ito yung sangkap ng dugo na tinatawag ring “blood clot cell” — pag bumagsak ito dahil sa dengue virus, naaapekto ang mga daluyan ng dugo, una na ang maliliit na capillaries, at nagli-leak ang dugo.  mga tatlo o apat na bag of blood platelets ang naisalin bago nag-normal ang kanyang platelet count.

so, talaga, feel ko ang mga nanggagalaiting ama’t ina ng mga batang naturukan ng dengvaxia.


i must confess, rj nieto aka thinking pinoy who has been blogging about #DengGate is a facebook friend, mula pa nuong may 13 (day 4 since the may 9 2016 elections).  i had just posted here excerpts from teddy locsin’s Elections over, but not the count — right smack nuong nagkakainitan sa bilangan:  duterte was very out front but the vp race was still up for grabs (in a manner of speaking), and there was a hue and cry over dubious smartmatic antics.  teddy boy, already pro-duterte, was saying, let’s wait for the official count; if you think there were any peculiarities or irregularities in the counting, then file a protest with comelec.

the comment thread is mostly my exchange with boom buencamino who agreed with teddy boy, but when i brought up  smartmatic’s antics he shared a couple of links, one on the ñ, and one to thinking pinoy‘s BBM vs. Leni: Forget Math, Hash Code is the Smoking Gun.

which is to say that i didn’t think twice about accepting nieto’s friend request.  TP was still in pa neutral-objective mode, i thought, even if barely, but he seemed to be well-informed and it didn’t hurt to keep abreast of whatever he was sharing.

soon after i clicked confirm, he sent a me a private message:

I am a big fan. ThinkingPinoy here.

me: thanks! but are you sure you’re not mistaking me for my daughter katrina?

Ohhh. I thought you’re katrina.  Yeah, I am her fan. We do not agree on a million issues, but I admire her…

a lot of water under the bridge later, and TP is now duterte’s Big Blogger, with an ear behind certain closed doors and enviable access, it would seem, to every nook niche and cranny, including the cordon-sanitaired, and you wonder who his major sponsor/s is / are (alanpeter, is datyu? bonggo, is datyu?) and while na-hide ko na siya from my newsfeed — na-turn off ako when he became brazenly, arrogantly, pro-duterte and nawala na yung attempt, kahit kuno, at objectivity — now and then i still visit his wall and blog, especially since he started blogging about dengvaxia #DengGate.

feb 7 he posted DOH and Sanofi’s Secret: Dengvaxia ®) may cause multiple organ failure.  feb 9 he posted this on his fb wall:


Let me explain part of the Dengvaxia Scandal in very simple and concise terms.

1. In December 2015, Sanofi Pasteur submitted a registration application to the Food and Drug Administration Philippines, where it said right then and there that Dengvaxia may cause, among others, nerve damage, multi-organ failure, worsened dengue symptoms. Sanofi also said in the application that Dengvaxia has limited efficacy, and provides waning protection over time.

2. Common sense dictates that long-term trials should have been done to reasonably confirm or debunk those risks BEFORE mass vaccination. None were conducted. Worse, FDA DID NOT include nerve damage (neurotrophism) and multi-organ failure (viscerotropism) in the list of side effects on Dengvaxia’s product label, so the public had no way of knowing about them.

3. Instead of conducting a long-term trial, say, through a limited mass-market release, Department of Health (Philippines) Sec. Dr. Janette Loreto-Garin decided to inject it to ONE MILLION kids, with her succeeding to inject close to 500,000 before she stepped down. She was actually already actively working on buying it WAY BEFORE it was approved by the FDA.

4. Garin and co. were able to bypass the limited long-term trial requirement because DoH Usec Kenneth Hartigan-Go made long-term post-marketing trials OPTIONAL when he was still FDA head. Hartigan-Go was part of the Zuellig network before and after his government stint. Zuellig Pharma Philippines is Dengvaxia’s exclusive distributor in the country. According to a leaked email, Hartigan-Go even offered to modify government regulations to ease Dengvaxia’s entry into the country.

5. Despite full knowledge and admission of the potential serious side effects of Dengvaxia, neither DoH nor Sanofi informed parents about this prior to inoculation.

6. Phase 3 trials ended in September 2017 and Sanofi CONFIRMED ONE of the suspected side effects: that Dengvaxia worsens Dengue symptoms for recipients who’ve never had dengue. They announced this through the 29 November 2017 Sanofi Press Release.

7. Parent of kids who died after receiving Dengvaxia started to reach out to the Public Attorney’s Office PAO, so PAO chief Atty. Persida Acosta started investigating.

8. PAO’s Forensics head Doctor-Attorney Erwin Erfe, with the help of Ospital ng Maynila Medical Center pathologists, conducted autopsies and tissue tests on the victims. Aside from discovering possible signs of severe dengue, they also discovered possible signs of viscerotropism or multi-organ failure.

9. In short, PAO and Co. appear to be confirming NOT ONLY ONE BUT TWO of the side effects. That is, it appears that PAO may have accidentally discovered Dengvaxia may indeed cause multi-organ failure, aside from worsening dengue symptoms, something that’s OVER AND ABOVE what’s stated in Sanofi’s press release.

10. And what has Sanofi done about it so far? They went on a media blitz to discredit PAO, with Zuellig Family Foundation trustee and former DoH Sec Esperanza Cabral as their head cheerleader, and with a large number of doctors from the Philippine General Hospital — who are indebted to Sanofi or Zuellig in one way or another — as her back-up dancers.

And that’s the simple version of the Dengvaxia Scandal.

i leave it to DOH apologists, garin cohorts in particular, to dispute or belie any of nieto’s sequence of events.  regrettably, TP doesn’t cover two important points (off the top of my head):

one, palusot ni garin.  when pressed about why she went ahead with the mass vaccination program despite warnings by experts re sero-negatives, garin claimed with a straight face na, batay sa DOH studies, karamihan (90%) ng pilipino ay tinamaan na ng dengue at least once.  isa lang daw sa sampu (1 out of 10) ang hindi pa nagkaka-dengue.  samakatuwid, sa estima at expert opinion nila sa DOH, mas maraming pilipino, 9 out of 10, ang mabebenepisyuhan ng dengvaxia kaysa masasaktan.

ang problema, walang naniwala sa statistics na iyan, at nang hingian sila ng kopya ng DOH studies ay wala namang maipakita si garin at kanyang mga alipores.  sabi naman ng kabilang kampo, mas malamang na 50 % lang kasi ang nagka-dengue na, pero duda pa rin ako.  puwedeng ngang 50 % pero sa mga lugar lang na madalas tamaan at mataas ang incidence ng dengue, at hindi sa buong kapuluan at hindi buong taon; may pagka-seasonal ang dengue, correct me if i’m wrong.

sagot ng DOH, maaaring nagka-dengue ka na, pero mild lang, hindi mo alam na dengue na pala iyon.  ang problema, wala naman talagang monitoring system ang DOH, therefore, wala naman talagang datos.  based pala on non-existent studies.  figments of the compromised doctor’s imagination, LOL.

two, dedma kay ubial at duque.   TP unabashedly ignores what happened when duterte took over, how sec ubial wanted to stop the mass inoculation but certain HOR and Commission on Appointments members prevailed upon her to continue the program, or else.

as i said in an earlier post, the dengvaxia fiasco squarely straddles two administrations, and it would seem that, as usual, DOH’s compromised docs and peeps are circling the wagons, this time with old-hand sec duque in the lead, kind of.  alas.

and so like TP, i’m with PAO on this, and awaiting anxiously the official results of the autopsies.

NCCC Mall on my mind

Gus Miclat

A pall of gloom continues to hang over Davao. The fire that gutted the New City Commercial Corp. (NCCC) Mall has cast a sad cloud over the city’s otherwise resilient people. That actual rain clouds intermittently hover and drench the injured city seems to be testing our will.

Tropical Storm “Vinta” dumped much rain the night before the fire, severely flooding parts of the metro particularly Jade Valley. Hundreds of families have set up tents and makeshift lodgings along the side streets. It is ironic that they are “luckier” than those killed by Vinta’s wrath in other parts of Mindanao, particularly in Zamboanga.

But the fire is still hard to accept, and fathom. The 38 lost lives seem to be an atrociously high toll given initial reports that the fire was “under control.” A neighbor in our office even said there was nothing to worry about as she had received word that it was just “smoke” that was already being handled.

Investigations are ongoing, and questions are repeatedly asked: Did the fire alarm or sprinklers not work? Were the fire exits closed? Was it an act of arson? Why did it happen just before the mall opened? Did the mall have the proper fire protocols? How could the 38 who died not been able to escape when the mall was still almost empty of people? Did the arsonist—if there was one—not realize that there was a call center operating 24/7 in the mall if the intention was “just” to burn it down?

To most of us, NCCC was our “go-to” mall — big, comfortable, convenient. Its supermarket was the best in town, offering a wide array of goods with prices more affordable than the others. The supermarket was an “equalizer” of classes: You rub elbows with all sorts of people as you shop—middle-class, rich, poor, youth, seniors. And parking was not a problem for those with cars.

Young people enjoyed the mall’s entertainment and game center. It had the most choices from the usual slot machines to karaoke cubicles. Small crowds gathered around the dance platforms as uniformed students or young jologs tried to outstep one another. It was the hangout place of my two eldest kids and their classmates when they were in high school.

The bowling center was the best in town. Friends, families, even corporate units, converged there to sweat it out, compete, or bond. The cinemas were comfortable, showing films that catered to all types of aficionados. I remember that they even had uniformed usherettes.

Like the supermarket, the department store offered a range of items reasonably priced. We shopped there for last-minute Christmas gifts or school supplies. And everybody seemed to be welcome, like family.

The restaurants, bakery, food stalls and food court had both the regular and unusual fare, with one or two local favorites like Cecil’s to boot. Never mind if it did not provide a discount for seniors.

There was a quick-fix repair stall, a lotto outlet, a pharmacy, and kiosks offering local delicacies.

In short, NCCC had almost all the essentials. But whether shopping or just hanging out, one felt the pull of community, a sense of Davao, a feeling of family.

That is why it is hard to grasp that this icon of sorts in our lives is suddenly gone — and painfully, with all those lives lost with it, on the day before Christmas Eve when its regular clients would have been engaged in a last-ditch buying spree or in holiday reunions, like what perhaps those who perished there were looking forward to do.

It’s eerie to pass the remains of the mall on the road to and from the city. The twisted metal beams especially at the side of the road toward Ma-a stab our fond memories of something that was part of us. The facade, still standing, seems to hide our tender reminiscences and to trap the desperate wails for help of those who died inside.

Their deaths must not be in vain. Justice must be meted out to the fullest degree.

The motley wreaths and bunches of flowers laid outside the supermarket by relatives and other residents starkly contrast with the energy exuded by this once-throbbing edifice. It is as if the city were still in denial. For by now, we would have flooded the steps with flowers, cards, messages and mementos.

Maybe only when this happens will justice be found. And then we can all move on. And let the NCCC of our lives rest in peace in our hearts.



calling out mayor sara duterte — NCCC mall fire the 4th in the history of lim family

“… since fire inspection clearances are connected to other construction permits, which fall completely under the purview of the local government, the BFP racket requires the cooperation – connivance would be a better word – of the mayor’s office, which can be assumed to be compensated for its indulgence.”

read Asia’s Tinderbox by ben kritz and wonder WHY it was paolo duterte who resigned as vice mayor soon after the deadly fire (purportedly for reasons having nothing to do with the fire) instead of sara duterte the mayor under whose watch and patronage that NCCC mall got away with fire exits and sprinklers that didn’t work despite the lim family owning up to a history of fires burning down their business establishments not once, not twice, but thrice before.

“My grandfather and my father were extraordinary,” says Javelin “Javey” A. Lim, 43, New City Commercial Corp. (NCCC) supermarkets and community stores president. “Our stores burned down thrice yet they built the company from the ground up again and again.”  

extraordinary, indeed, and reprehensibly opprobrious, that no lessons were learned from the first three fires, no measures taken, either by the lim family or local government officials, to make sure a fire never happened again.

dengvaxia fiasco: a curious conspiracy

curious because it straddles two administrations, aquino’s and duterte’s.  former president aquino’s DOH sec janette garin started it rolling in april 2016 (though she alleges that it was secretary enrique ona (whom she replaced) who first pushed for the use of dengvaxia.  president duterte’s first DOH sec paulyn ubial tried to stop it but she was overruled by the 17th congress, it would seem.  read A huge conspiracy by jojo robles; though known to be a ka-DDS, he does not hesitate to call out both houses of the 17th congress for refusing to heed warnings by medical professioonals.

When the current Congress opened in the middle of last year, a two-term lawmaker from Quezon province, Rep. Angelina Tan, who was also chairman of the House committee on health, started an investigation into the P3.5-billion “midnight” anti-dengue immunization program of the Aquino administration using the Dengvaxia vaccine. By February of this year, the committee of Tan, a rural doctor by profession, had completed a draft report on its probe, which contained damning findings and recommended the suspension of the program.

According to the Tan committee, the Department of Health found that 997 children vaccinated with Dengvaxia, a product of French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi Pasteur, suffered “adverse effects” after being inoculated with the first of the three-dose vaccine. Fully 30 of these cases required hospitalization, the committee report said, and two of the 30 children died.

… what the House leadership of Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez actually did was to stymie the Tan committee and bury its draft report. The two committees were unable to form a consensus, thereby effectively “killing” the Tan panel’s explosive findings.

Instead of suspending the implementation of the Dengvaxia program, the House even convinced Health Secretary-designate Paulyn Ubial to expand it to the Central Visayas region. Under the Aquino administration, the program had only targeted children in public schools in three regions—Metro Manila, Central Luzon and Southern Tagalog—for inclusion in the program.

During the confirmation and budget hearings attended by Ubial, she was repeatedly pressured to widen the scope of the vaccination program, which the health secretary initially resisted on medical grounds. At the same time, a vocal anti-Ubial faction rose in the House, led by Kabayan party-list Rep. Harry Roque (who is now spokesman of President Rodrigo Duterte), among others, which Ubial decided would only stop opposing her appointment if she agreed to continue and expand the Dengvaxia immunization campaign; ironically, Ubial’s appointment was rejected by the Commission on Appointments despite her expansion of the vaccination scheme.

It is worth noting that a similar investigation started by Senator Richard Gordon on the Dengvaxia immunization program in the Senate in December last year also went nowhere. Gordon, in an interview this week, allegedly cited a lack of public interest in the case and the refusal of DoH officials led by Ubial to cooperate in the Senate probe.

read Roque hits DOH flip-flopping on dengue vaccines back in dec 2016.  read also Health professionals umalmang huwag ‘i-hostage’ ang DOH budget back in october 2016, this one naming cebu rep gwen garcia, yes, she who today assiduously argues for cj sereno’s impeachment, as leader of the pro-dengvaxia pack.

Sa ginanap na DOH budget hearing noong Setyembre, sinabi raw ng ilang mga mambabatas sa pangunguna ni Cebu Congresswoman Gwen Garcia, na hindi ipapasa ang DOH budget kung hindi isasama ang alokasyon para sa implementasyon ng mas malawakang dengue vaccine program.

Nauna nang sinabi ng DOH na itutuloy na lamang ang 2nd at 3rd doses ng vaccine para sa halos 500,000 na batang nabigyan na ng unang dose pero hindi na ito dadagdagan pa ng iba pang batch ng mga batang tuturukan ng bakuna hanggat hindi nasisiguro ng ahensya na ligtas ito.

Ito ang naging desisyon ng DOH batay na rin sa rekomedasyon ng panel of experts na kanilang binuo. Naniniwala kasi ang mga ekperto na posibleng may long-term at short-term side effects ang bakuna kaya’t kailangan pa nito nang mas masusing pag-aaral.

Iginigiit naman ng mga mambabatas, kailangan ng kanilang constituents ang vaccine.

looking forward to senate hearing tomorrow.  meron daw surprise witness from DOH.    it would be good to hear from dr. ona, too, and from spokesman harry and rep gwen na rin, please.