Illegal vaccines reported widespread in the Philippines
Government to go after illegal vaccine traders
MANILA – National Task Force against COVID-19 chief implementer and Vaccine Czar Secretary Carlito Galvez, Jr. said the government will go after businessmen into illicit trade of probably counterfeit vaccines.
“Yesterday, I already sent directives to the National Task Force to coordinate with the Department of Justice’s National Bureau of Investigation, the police intelligence operations, the chief of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency,” he said.
Secretary Galvez, speaking at the midday press briefing hosted by Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, said this was his reaction after the World Health Organization (WHO) issued its warning about the widespread availability of fake vaccines in the market.
“In some instances, we have investigated private companies because we checked the origin of their vaccines and we found out they are not authorized by the (foreign-based) mother companies,” he said. He explained there are three suppliers who are unauthorized by foreign companies.
“And with that, nakita naming medyo spurious ang kanilang pagpasok dito and even offering it to different local government units,” he said.
He added they already informed local government units that should they negotiate with vaccine companies, they should coordinate with his office because they have all the needed information, and they have intelligence operatives who can countercheck the companies entering into negotiations with local officials.
“These companies that will be possibly putting at risk (the people), selling what we call fake and illegal, and smuggled illegal vaccines,” he added.
Asked if his office was successful in tracing the origins of the vaccines sold by the three suspected companies, Secretary Galvez said they are looking into the practices of these companies as Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra was quoted saying the controversial vaccines did not pass through the Bureau of Customs.
“I believe our intelligence community and the Customs intelligence can look into the illegal practice and find ways to prevent its entry because they pose a serious threat to the safety and efficacy of our vaccination program,” he added.
He explained should his office finds enough bases to merit formal charges against these companies, they will pursue legal action because these outfits which he refused to name, misrepresent legitimate entities.
“We also called on the different companies, manufacturing companies to really police their ranks. We can assure everyone our dealings will be transparent, at the same time, it is within the purview of the recently approved legislation,” he concluded. (Melo M. Acuña)