Volume III, Number 2. 31 January 2021.

As of this writing, at least 10,290 Filipinos have died due to the coronavirus. Up to last week, at least 25,260 were still ill and about 1,300 more each day get sick. The Philippines has one of most coronavirus cases in Asia. Millions have lost their livelihood. And yet the government of Rodrigo Duterte is miserably trailing in the effort to vaccinate the Filipino people against the virus.

Ever so fond of his mercenary generals, Duterte appointed Gen. Carlito Galvez way back in March 2020 as chief whip of his Covid-19 task force and added-on the title of ‘vaccine czar’ in October. So what have they done thus far, aside from a lot of puffed up press releases?

Instead of mass testing and the consequent contact-tracing, Filipinos have to pay to be tested. In late December, ‘some cabinet officials’ and the Presidential Security Group were given coronavirus vaccines, in violation of laws on clinical trials and emergency use authorization. Clear as day, Duterte and his officials prioritize themselves over the frontline healthcare workers and vulnerable population!

Duterte and Galvez have also been campaigning vociferously to buy Sinovac’s CoronaVac, even before the Chinese pharma has applied for any clinical trial or emergency use in the country. Lashing out against accusations of corruption, Duterte virtually admitted that aside from Gen. Galvez, Finance Secretary Dominguez and Duterte himself will be sharing in the drug sales commissions! While tens of millions of vaccines have already been rolled out for free in various countries around the world, Duterte and his cronies are drooling over the sales commissions – to hell with the people’s health!

Covid-19 vaccine à la Duterte is treasonous, corrupt, anti-people and repressive. The Filipino people must fight ever more resolutely for the free and safe distribution of Covid-19 vaccines to the healthcare workers, the most vulnerable population and eventually to the general population.