ILOILO – A critic of the politically influential Garin family in the 1st District staged what he called a “funeral caravan” on Nov. 1 (All Saints’ Day) to raise public awareness on the Dengvaxia vaccine controversy and seek justice for children who died allegedly due to the anti-dengue vaccine.
But former Miag-ao mayor Gerardo Flores also admitted that one of the targets of the caravan was his rival for congressman in the district, former Health secretary Janette Garin.
Garin’s embroilment in the Dengvaxia controversy brought shame to the 1st District, according to Flores, a retired police general.
In 2016 the Department of Health then headed by Garin launched a school-based anti-dengue vaccination program using Dengvaxia.
Vehicles that joined the Dengvaxia funeral caravan blared the Filipino sentimental song Hindi Kita Malilimutan, a popular ditty during funeral processions.
The caravan covered the towns of Oton, Tigbauan, Guimbal, Miag-ao, San Joaquin, Tubungan, and Igbaras.
Garin accused Flores of using a solemn day for politicking and spreading “fake news.”
She said the World Health Organization had been reiterating that there was nothing wrong with vaccinating children with Dengvaxia.
Garin also denied there was corruption in the P3.4-billion procurement of Dengvia by DOH during her term as Health secretary under the Aquino administration.
A physician, Garin also said the anti-dengue vaccination program was “implemented in accordance with World Health Organization guidance and recommendations.”
Over 800,000 schoolchildren have been vaccinated with Dengvaxia since 2016.
The anti-dengue vaccination program covered four regions – National Capital Region, regions 3, 4A and 7./PN