“I pray that with the grace of God, this year would be better than 2020.”


Santa Banana at a time when people expect the proper distribution of vaccines to those in great need, here come reports that some factions of the military, particularly the Presidential Security Group, and some favored Cabinet members have been injected with the vaccine from China’s Sinovac!

There are also rumors that President Duterte himself has been inoculated. And all without the approval of the Food and Drug Administration!

We are back to our government’s “palakasan” system and lack of transparency. Proper distribution, indeed – but on the sly. Just how these still-unapproved drugs entered the country and why some have already been vaccinated must now be investigated. 


It’s really unfortunate that while many countries have started vaccinating their citizens, we are still deciding which brand to buy.

In fact, there is this conundrum on whether or not we should accept the offer of China regarding Sinovac’s vaccine. Its efficacy is at 50 percent. Pfizer’s and Moderna’s rates are at above 90 percent. 

What I cannot understand is why the Department of Health is insisting 50 percent is all right so long as the Food and Drug Administration and the World Health Organization approve. Why settle for a less effective vaccine when we can have the best? Has our “OK na yan” mentality taken us this low?

It’s a consolation that the private sector has given help for the government to acquire 2.6 million doses of the vaccine from AstraZeneca. But this is hardly enough since we need 60 million to 70 million doses. 

Santa Banana, and now we hear that the virus has mutated! There is danger that the new strain would come to our shores. Can you imagine what would happen if the dreaded new strain of the virus comes here? There will be lockdowns again!

Thus, it is important that we get the most effective kind.

I refuse to accept the Department of Health’s words that it is all right for us to accept Sinovac because it falls within standards of efficacy. No sane Filipino would want to be given a vaccine known to only be 50 percent effective. Settling for the less effective kind is unacceptable, even crazy!

I have a sneaking suspicion that the Chinese government is exerting some kind of pressure on the DOH to use Sinovac. What kind of pressure could that be? We can only guess. 

What bothers me is why Duterte made the early delivery of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines a condition for the continuation of the Visiting Forces Agreement with the United States. The VFA has nothing to do with the pandemic. I can understand the anxiety of Mr. Duterte, but the VFA is plain and simple geopolitics. 


The year 2020 was difficult. We greet 2021 with hope especially with the news that there is now a vaccine against COVID-19. We Filipinos always tend to see the glass as half-full rather than half-empty. 

Will 2021 be better than 2020? I think, with the development of the vaccine against COVID-19, we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. But will we see the end of the pandemic this year? Only the health experts can tell. 

There are high hopes that the much-battered national economy would be able to rebound. Some experts point to sound fundamentals: respectable inflation rate, stable peso, good fiscal policy. And then there is the fact that by October this year, politics-driven spending would kick off as national and local candidates prepare for the 2022 polls.

At any rate, it should be good to know what we can realistically expect this year. It’s good to be hopeful, but we should not lose touch with reality. 

With the grace of God, I pray that this year would be better than 2020.

Topics: Rodrigo Duterte , vaccine , Presidential Security Group , Sinovac


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