Valenzuela mayor Gatchalian on PSG vaccine controversy: ‘Let’s move on’
MANILA, Philippines — Valenzuela Mayor Rex Gatchalian on Tuesday added his voice to a number of government officials expressing support to personnel of the Presidential Security Group (PSG) who were embroiled in the controversial self-inoculation of a yet unregistered Chinese vaccine against coronavirus disease, a move that was seen by many as a violation of the law but which the PSG claimed they did in order to protect their principal, President Rodrigo Duterte.
In an interview with over ABS-CBN News Channel, Gatchalian said the public should move on from the issue, and give priority to the matter of the speedy rollout of registered vaccines.
“I think, let’s start moving on. I personally believe so because we’ve had this discourse for quite some time. No matter what, when we look at this issue, there is always a left side and the ride side,” Gatchalian said over ABS-CBN News Channel, reacting to the PSG personnel’s self-vaccination using unauthorized vaccines against the coronavirus disease.
“In my case, I would rather look at it as a calculated managed risk to protect the most important individual in the country. Other people might look at it as a haphazard move that sends the wrong message to everybody,” he added.
“But for me, I think we pretty much discussed what there is to discuss. There are more pressing matters which are to try to get these vaccines approved by the FDA [Food and Drug Administration],” the mayor further said.
Gatchalian also noted that the government must focus on starting COVID-19 vaccination program in the next few months.
“In my humble opinion, napagusapan na. Tatlong chapter na siguro ito. Move on tayo doon sa pressing matter. Nandoon ako sa, yes, it [PSG vaccination] could have been done better, I definitely agree. But in my opinion, they [PSG] took the calculated managed risk to protect the most important individual. May ganoong anggulo,” said Gatchalian.
(There are already discussions on it. There might have been three chapters on it. Let’s move on to the pressing matter. Yes I agree that it could have been done better. But in my opinion, there is an angle that they took the calculated managed risk to protect the most important individual.)
“Pero ako, hindi naman ito out of luho e. […] I think there were pressing reasons why they [PSG] had to do it. Let’s put a period at that. Let’s vaccinate hopefully so that everybody can go back to their normal lives,” he further said.
In a statement, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said the PSG leader must be summoned during a Senate inquiry on the nation’s vaccination plan to explain the early vaccination of presidential security personnel.
But in a televised speech on Monday, President Rodrigo Duterte immediately shut down the suggestion, and warned Congress against meddling in the PSG vaccination issue.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana further claimed earlier that the COVID-19 vaccines administered to some members PSG members were smuggled since the Food and Drug Administration has not authorized its use.
The FDA, an agency under the Department of Health, is the sole authority that looks into the “safety, efficacy, and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, and medical devices…”
Under Republic Act No. 9711, otherwise known as the “Food and Drug Administration Act of 2009,” the manufacture, importation, exportation, sale, offering for sale, distribution, transfer, promotion, advertising or sponsorship of health products without proper authorization from FDA is prohibited.
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