Iloilo senator backs senate hearing on COVID vaccine


As details of the government’s Covid-19 vaccination plan remain murky, Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon supports calls for another round of Senate inquiry on the government’s Covid-19 vaccine rollout.

Drilon proposed that only a preliminary, not final, report be submitted to the Senate by the Committee of the Whole, which held two hearings on the government’s vaccination plan.

He said the two-day inquiry left more questions than it answered.

“There are still a number of issues hanging. These too many unanswered questions raise grave concerns, for the survival of the country largely depends on our ability to implement a successful vaccination program against Covid-19 virus,” Drilon said in a statement on Sunday.

The urgent unanswered questions, according to Drilon, are the pricing, the sourcing of the vaccines, the delivery schedules and logistical support plan.

“We did not get any definite answers to these serious questions. I believe another round of hearing is in order. I support the call of Sen. Panfilo Lacson for more hearings,” Drilon said.

“We will not get the whole picture of what lies ahead when important information is concealed from us and the public,” he added.

“It was evident that preparations are not sufficient. We all want this vaccination plan to succeed. The Senate should continue to exercise its oversight power. The Senate has no agenda but to give the public access to information about the government’s vaccination plan,” Drilon said.

Drilon reiterated his calls for transparency, saying that “being transparent and truthful” is crucial in building up public confidence in the coronavirus vaccine.

“This is an opportunity for the public to be informed of the government’s vaccination plan and scrutinize the same. The lack of access to information fuels doubts and confusion among the public,” he emphasized.

“The success of the vaccination program – and the country’s economic recovery – depends on the ability to inoculate at least 60% of our population. How will the government convince people that the vaccines are safe? How can we strengthen our people’s confidence in the anti-coronavirus vaccine?” he said.