Garin agrees with Atienza on mutual respect, but…
MANILA, Philippines – Iloilo 1st District Rep. Janette Garin has agreed with Buhay party-list Rep. Lito Atienza’s view that opinions of lawmakers should be respected.
However, Garin, a former Department of Health (DOH) secretary, insisted on Wednesday that she cannot help but argue with Atienza for spreading false rumors that have been debunked already by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Atienza last Monday was interpellating Bagong Henerasyon party-list Rep. Bernadette Herrera Dy about a speech on the recent polio outbreak, when Atienza said the tetanus vaccine causes sterility.
Garin said these were merely ‘fake news,’ but Atienza said Garin should have respected his views.
“It is correct, there should be mutual respect in the House. But if one wrong information, a fake news would be heard by many, it can be misconstrued as a fact,” Garin said during the Minority’s press briefing.
Garin said she had to interfere because she saw Dy, nodding and accepting Atienza’s arguments, which may be considered dangerous as trust in vaccines have been dropping due to the Dengvaxia issue.
“I stood up to correct that, because the one who was delivering the privilege speech was not correcting the wrong information,” she added.
“I had to stand up because health workers do not have a rostrum to defend themselves, they are not House members […] the interpellator also mentioned that the DOH implements programs like the tetanus which allegedly caused sterility among women, and that women are being vaccinated,” Garin claimed.
Atienza and Garin clashed over the privilege speech, after Atienza insisted that the cause for low polio vaccination rates was brought by the Dengvaxia mess — dengue vaccines that were released when Garin was still in charge of DOH.
Dengvaxia was recalled by its manufacturer, pharmaceutical giant Sanofi Pasteur, over concerns that it could have bad effects on seronegative patients or those who have not contracted the dengue virus prior to vaccination.
A probe conducted by the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO), headed by its chief Persida Acosta and forensic consultant Dr. Erwin Erfe, concluded that the assailed immunization program was the cause of death for over 100 patients, most of them children.
Erfe said the victims showed the same symptoms: a severe dengue which eventually led to internal bleeding and swelling of the brain. However, several administration critics have slammed Acosta for sensationalizing the issue, saying that the investigation led to a vaccine scare among parents. /muf
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