Sponsorship Speech on the Supplemental Appropriations to Fund the Medical Assistance to Dengvaxia vaccinees

July 24, 2018

Sponsorship Speech of Sen. Loren Legarda
on the Supplemental Appropriations to Fund the Medical Assistance to Dengvaxia vaccinees
24 July 2018 | Senate Session Hall


Mr. President, esteemed colleagues in the Senate,


It is my honor to sponsor today, Committee Report No. 395, on House Bill No. 7449, covering the supplemental appropriations for fiscal year 2018 in the amount of one billion one hundred sixty-one million seven hundred ten thousand pesos (P1,161,710,000), which amount is intended to provide the much-needed health assistance to the Dengvaxia vaccinees.


This Committee Report likewise takes into consideration the following Senate Bills:


  1. Senate Bill Nos. 1794, and 1795, filed by this representation and Sen. Gordon, respectively. Both have the same titles as House Bill No. 7449; and
  2. Senate Bill No. 1769, filed by Sen. JV Ejercito, which is “An Act Establishing the Medical Assistance Program for the Dengvaxia Vaccinees and Appropriating Funds therefor and for other purposes”.


According to the Department of Health, this Health Assistance Program for Dengvaxia vaccinees will be composed of the following:


  • Medical Assistance Program, which will be allocated P945 million or 81% of the fund;
  • Public Health Management, P148 million or 13% of the fund; and,
  • Human Resources for Health (HRH) Deployment, P67 million or 6% of the fund.


The above allocation will also be used to provide medical assistance for hospitalization, out-patient care services, procurement of supplies and medicines, including the issuance of Dengvaxia assistance card to facilitate the availment of hospital services.  P25 million has been allocated for the last item alone.


This health assistance program will likewise entail the hiring of additional 1,250 nurses to be deployed in Regions III, IV-A, VII, and the NCR to accelerate the profiling of the vaccinees which shall include demographic profiling, assessment of pre-dengvaxia and post-dengvaxia medical status, and physical examinations.


For the implementation of this health assistance program, the DOH will execute memoranda of agreement with different public and private hospitals to implement and facilitate the availment of the medical assistance program.


The funding for this supplemental budget will come from the refund from the Zuellig Pharma, the local distributor of the Dengvaxia Sanofi Pasteur, covering the unused vials of Dengvaxia vaccine which has been remitted by the Department of Health to the Bureau of the Treasury.


The National Treasurer, in compliance with Section 25(4), Article VI of the Constitution, has issued a certification that the P1,161,710,000 is actually available in the National Treasury to  support the proposed Supplemental Appropriations under H.B. No. 7449.


Lastly, Mr. President, the Committee would also like to place on record that different organizations and associations representing the families of children who were administered the Dengvaxia vaccine were likewise invited during the public hearing so that they could be consulted on what their immediate needs are, or how this Health Assistance Program can be effectively implemented.


These organizations, representing families coming from the four affected regions are:  the United Parents Against Dengvaxia, the Dengvaxia Care Organization, the Parents Alliance Justice Against Dengvaxia, and the Samahan ng mga Magulang Anak ay Biktima ng Dengvaxia.


Mr. President, distinguished colleagues, this bill has been certified urgent by the President, let us do our part in allaying the fears of the parents and families of the almost 900,000 individuals, both children and adults, who had been administered with this vaccine.


Dengvaxia was originally intended to help reduce, if not eradicate, the dengue incidents in the country, and it was most unfortunate that the public was not informed of its accompanying risks.  Let us earnestly hope that this health assistance program will not be too late in terms of making sure that we keep our children, most specially, safe and healthy.


I therefore urge and appeal to this Chamber that we pass immediately House Bill No. 7449, under Committee Report No. 395, without amendments.  Thank you.