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EDITORIAL: Right to Choose

When Senator Panfilo Lacson asked Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Boy Locsin to name the official who allegedly dropped the ball in the course of negotiations with Pfizer about the anti Covid-19 vaccine, the latter suddenly found difficulty in finding his own balls.

The confusion has driven certain sectors to entertain suspicions with some even going to the extent of coining a term “kickvacs’ that apparently connotes a very ugly scenario involving bureaucratic red tape.

In order to clear the air it is important to find out the status of the ball being referred to by Senator Lacson and Secretary Locsin.

According to health Secretary Francisco Duque the ball was never dropped, and negotiations with Pfizer are still ongoing. That implies that Duque has in mind a ball used in basketball. If he did not drop the ball it means he is freezing it. He should therefore explain why.

Does he mean that he is purposely freezing the ball in order to benefit others? It paints a picture that Duque while in possession of the basketball purposely held the ball at the time when the game was about to end and in order to force a time extension.

He did not take advantage of the situation when he had all the opportunity to shoot or even dunk the ball.

As a consequence, negotiations with Pfizer had to be extended until June, 2021. Obviously it was to the disadvantage of the Filipino people, and to the advantage of vaccine suppliers other than Pfizer.

This time, Duque needs to reveal also his coach or team manager, who must have ordered him to freeze the ball. Otherwise he should state categorically that he is a playing coach which would run counter to his claim that he is not the supposed authority to sign an agreement with Pfizer.

On the other hand, if the ball subject of the controversy is for football, then it is obvious that Duque does not want to kick the ball towards the goal and instead he kicked it back to the wrong court.

Enough with play of words. What is at stake is the health of the general public and treating lightly the concern about the vaccine intended against Covid-19 is most unfortunate, given that while the rest of the world is already in the thick of inoculating their people, here we are still resorting to play of words, when government authorities should have long made major moves.

Come to think of it. The advent season is highlighted as one for giving. Can the government not at least in the spirit of Christmas, give the people, particularly those who have the means, the right to choose which vaccine they would like to avail of?

That would be perhaps the greatest Christmas gift that may be extended to the people and lead to huge savings of public funds. Merry Christmas.


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