Janet Garin Says It’s Exaggeration After Furious Mothers of Dengvaxia Victims Go After Her


“They feed them wrong information by allowing anger to thrive in their hearts, by blaming the Department of Health (DOH).”

This was how former Health Secretary Janette Garin expressed dismay after some furious mothers of children administered with Dengvaxia confronted her at the end of the House of Representatives hearing into the P3 billion dengue-immunization program on Monday.

“Ikinalulungkot ko na humantong sa ganito (We are saddened that it has come to this). We’re very much willing to talk and to discuss about things,” Garin told reporters.

The former DOH secretary also lamented that the incident would overshadow the important discussions on the controversy.

“Kasi unang-una dapat hindi natin kalimutan na nawawala tuloy yung atensyon ng publiko at mga tao dun sa kung ano ang dapat pakinggan at kung ano ang dapat gawin,” she said. (First of all, we shouldn’t forget that the attention of the public must not stray from what should be listened to and what should be done.)

“Nakakalungkot na humahantong sa pananakit, humahantong ito sa panghahampas, sa panununtok, kasi nawawala tuloy yung hinaing kung ano talaga ang katotohanan, ano ang problema,” she added. (It’s sad that it has come to assault, striking, punching, because the complaint is lost in what’s really true, what the real problem is.)

Garin also hinted that the “attack” was exaggerated, and was an attempt to “misinform” the public of the truth.

“Kung gagawin yun sa mga doktor na nagtatrabaho, sa opisyales ng departamento, at sa mga kasamahan natin sa health sector eh paano naman po ang taong bayan? Because at the end of the day, the ultimate victims of misinformation, the ultimate victims of people calling for panic and making this whole issue exaggerated, ang biktima rito pagdating nga panahon Pilipino parin at taumbayan,” she said.

(If you do that to doctors who are working, to officials in a department, and to our colleagues in the health sector, then what will happen to the public? Because at the end of the day, the ultimate victims of misinformation, the ultimate victims of people calling for panic and making this whole issue exaggerated, the victims of this when the time comes are still the Filipinos and the public.)

While saying that she understands the anger of the mothers, she also questioned their intention.

“Hindi ko kasi alam kung yung intensyon eh tototong makatulong sa tao o kung yung intensyon ay palakihin yung kwento at bigyan ng dagdag na kaba yung mga nanay,” she said.

(I don’t know if they intend to help others or they intend to magnify the story and give more worries to mothers.)

“Naiintindihan ko kung baka sakaling ‘yung nanghampas at nanuntok sa akin kung talagang nanay siya ng bata. Pero ang hindi ko naiintidihan ‘yung mga tao na may konsensya na gawin ito na ‘yung biktima na namatayan na nga eh lalo pang bibiktimahin,” she added. (I understand if the person who struck and punched me is really a mother. But what I don’t understand is people who have a conscience who do this when the victim whose loved one has died is still being victimized.)

The vaccination drive was launched under Garin’s watch in 2016.

But it was halted by current Health Secretary Francisco Duque III when Sanofi bared in November 2017 that Dengvaxia could worsen symptoms of the disease for people who had not previously been infected by the virus.

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