Deputy Speaker Pia S. Cayetano is pushing for ‘more intelligent discussions’ on the importance of government’s immunization program, which aims to protect Filipino children from vaccine-preventable diseases.
Cayetano made the call during her speech at the Vice Mayors’ League of the Philippines (VMLP) Academy of Presiding Officers Graduation Ceremony at the Century Park Hotel on Tuesday, December 4.
Addressing over a thousand vice mayors from across the country, the Taguig representative said there is a need for politicians to make tougher decisions in addressing difficult social issues that affect the lives of Filipinos.
“One of my challenges is to make young people know that the decisions we (public officials) make are not always easy. It’s not true that things are always in black and white. But you look at the greater good,” Cayetano said.
“The desire to look for a road that has no obstacles is human nature. But we were not put in public service para umiwas (to avoid controversial issues). We were put here to go through that difficult road,” she added.
The congresswoman particularly cited the government’s vaccination program, which she said has lost much public support since the failed immunization program involving the anti-dengue vaccine, Dengvaxia.
A known advocate of women’s and children’s health and welfare, Cayetano was the principal author and sponsor of Republic Act No. 10152, also known as the Mandatory Infants and Children Health Immunization Act.
“Kahit po unpopular topic ‘yun (even if it’s an unpopular issue), I’ll talk about it. Because the danger of mothers fearing vaccination cannot be greater than their children actually having polio, smallpox, chicken pox, measles. Lahat ‘yun, kung hindi man nakakamatay (these diseases may not necessarily lead to death), but are very debilitating,” Cayetano stressed in her speech.
She also urged fellow public officials to help raise better awareness on the importance of vaccination in protecting the health of children and youth, as well as allaying the public’s fear over the negative effects of vaccines.
“Sa takot ng mga tao dahil sa nangyari sa Dengvaxia, marami ngayon ang ayaw nang magpabakuna. (Because of the scare caused by Dengvaxia, parents have refused to have their children vaccinated). So it requires na i-educate ang mga nanay na, ‘Pasensya na, huwag po kayong matakot sa vaccination, kailangan ‘yan ng mga anak ninyo,” Cayetano asserted. (The situation requires that we educate mothers not to fear vaccination, because their children need it.) #