Power Peddling & Ego Trip



That the Philippine Government has been lagging behind in its anti-Covid-19 virus vaccination efforts even among neighboring countries within the ASEAN region is very heart breaking.


Here we are still in the thick of determining which vaccine qualifies to gain entry into the country. The national government wants to monopolize the vaccine distribution to the exclusion of Local Government Units, that have already become impatient and frustrated by the central government’s foot dragging.


LGUs are constricted by certain technical gobbledygook that in effect practically renders them helpless in expeditiously inoculating their own constituents.


The restrictive attitude of the IATF on the pretext that they are ensuring the health and safety of the people is gradually unmasking the highly suspicious moves that are designed to favor certain parties. Attention is invited to R.A No. 9184 (An Act providing for the Modernization, Standardization and Regulation of the Procurement Activities of the Government and for other Purposes).


Section 2 (Declaration of Policy) provides that it is the declared policy of the state to promote the ideals of good governance in all its branches, departments, agencies, subdivisions and instrumentalities, including government-owned and/or controlled corporations, and local government units.


Moreover, Section 43, Article 12 (Procurement of Domestic and Foreign Goods) states that consistent with the country’s obligations under international treaties or agreements, goods may be obtained from domestic or foreign sources and the procurement thereof shall be open to all eligible suppliers, manufacturers and distributors. However, in the interest of availability, efficiency and timely delivery of goods, the procuring entity may give preference to the purchase of domestically-produced and manufactured goods, supplies and materials that meet the specified or desired quality.


Suspicions could be easily wiped out by the simple issuance of guidelines or standards outlining the terms and conditions for the entry of the vaccine through the central government, LGUs or even private sector.


Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made it clear that vaccination is voluntary. That is not the point however. Roque should address his admonition for the people not to be “pihikan”(choosy) to those who cannot afford. It is pointed out that not enjoying the privilege to choose which vaccine is preferred is not necessarily being choosy.


The government decision to apparently favor Chinese made vaccines in order to cater to those people who cannot afford to have themselves vaccinated at cost might be alright. But the admonition of the presidential spokesperson should be focused to those who don’t have the means.


The same ought not to be applicable to those who have the means. Why deprive them of their right for self-preservation, given that after all they are volunteering to assume the cost? Self-preservation is both constitutional and birth right.


Expecting the poor to readily submit to the government-- chosen brand vaccine may appear unfair. But reality dictates that “beggars cannot be choosers”. Somewhat wanting in compassion but that is reality.


The strategy of certain government officials is indicative of power peddling or ego trip. They never learn from history. Paging a proactive Commission on Audit.