July 17, 2018, 9:57 am
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1 Philippine Peso = 0.01599 Euro
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1 Philippine Peso = 0.01411 Falkland Islands Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01412 British Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.08949 Ghanaian Cedi
1 Philippine Peso = 0.88526 Gambian Dalasi
1 Philippine Peso = 168.36105 Guinea Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 0.13998 Guatemala Quetzal
1 Philippine Peso = 3.87012 Guyana Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.14665 Hong Kong Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.44715 Honduras Lempira
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1 Philippine Peso = 22.12671 Iraqi Dinar
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1 Philippine Peso = 1 Philippine Peso
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1 Philippine Peso = 0.02551 Singapore Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01412 St Helena Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.41499 Slovak Koruna
1 Philippine Peso = 153.24238 Sierra Leone Leone
1 Philippine Peso = 10.65221 Somali Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 391.8333 Sao Tome Dobra
1 Philippine Peso = 0.16352 El Salvador Colon
1 Philippine Peso = 9.624 Syrian Pound
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1 Philippine Peso = 0.12621 Trinidad Tobago Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.57118 Taiwan Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 42.3846 Tanzanian Shilling
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1 Philippine Peso = 69.93085 Ugandan Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01869 United States Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.58568 Uruguayan New Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 145.44945 Uzbekistan Sum
1 Philippine Peso = 2236.96505 Venezuelan Bolivar
1 Philippine Peso = 430.74192 Vietnam Dong
1 Philippine Peso = 2.06036 Vanuatu Vatu
1 Philippine Peso = 0.04858 Samoa Tala
1 Philippine Peso = 10.48103 CFA Franc (BEAC)
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1 Philippine Peso = 10.48103 CFA Franc (BCEAO)
1 Philippine Peso = 1.90563 Pacific Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 4.66922 Yemen Riyal
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Andanar on Dengvaxia mess: Somebody has to be accountable

COMMUNICATIONS Secretary Martin Andanar yesterday said that while the dengue vaccine program was undertaken in good faith by the previous administration, it does not exempt anyone from the previous government from any accountability or responsibility for the P3.5 billion mess.

“What is important here is...whoever should be held responsible should be held accountable because the 800,000 plus who were injected is not a joke. Even if the government meant well, let’s say the past administration, but there still must be accountability,” Andanar told dzMM.

“Does it mean in the future, if another mistake is committed in the vaccination program regardless if the vaccine is for dengue or other sickness, if another mistake happens, no one will be held accountable? It should not be that way. What are we? Are Filipinos, guinea pigs? We are not guinea pigs,” he added.

Andanar said the dengvaxia scare should not affect the other vaccination programs of the Department of Health (DOH).

President Duterte earlier expressed belief that the dengue vaccine program was implemented by the previous administration in good faith.

The President had said that had he been in the position of his predecessor , he would have pushed for its implementation especially after being promised that it would save lives.

Duterte, however, said he would wait for the results of the different investigating bodies.

Last Thursday, former President Bengino Aquino III told a Senate inquiry that no one protested before he approved the purchase of Dengvaxia, while he was still deciding, and even after he decided.

He said Dengvaxia was given to 830,000 children in Metro Manila, Calabarzon and Central Luzon because data from the Department of Health showed they were the areas most affected by dengue in 2015.

Sanofi Pasteur recently released the negative findings of its long-term follow-up study of Dengvaxia, the world’s first-ever licensed anti-dengue vaccine.

It showed that “people who never had dengue but who were given the shots had an increased risk of a severe case and hospitalization from the third year after immunization.”

The DOH suspended the anti-dengue immunization drive on Dec. 1, after Sanofi Pasteur conceded that Dengvaxia could worsen symptoms for vaccinated people who contracted the disease for the first time.

The Food and Drug Administration has also since blocked the sale, distribution and marketing of the vaccine in the Philippines.

Sanofi Pasteur is the vaccines division of French multinational pharmaceutical company Sanofi S.A.
 
REFUND CALL

THE chair of the House committee on good government yesterday backed the government’s demand for Sanofi Pasteur to refund the P3.5 billion that it received for the Dengvaxia vaccines.

Rep. Johnny Pimentel (PDP-Laban, Surigao del Sur) said Sanofi has to return the payment as demanded by President Duterte and the Department of Health.

“This is the right thing for Sanofi to do. The sooner they give us back the money, the better,” said Pimentel, whose panel held a joint inquiry with the House committee on health on the health risks posed by the Dengvaxia vaccine to schoolchildren.

Pimental also urged Sanofi Pasteur to establish an indemnity fund, as proposed by Health Secretary Francisco Duque, to pay for the future hospitalization and treatment of Filipino school children who may be rendered sick after receiving Dengvaxia shots.

The DOH has said it will also demand that Sanofi cover the hospitalization expenses of those who will contract severe dengue because of the vaccine.

Malacañang last week said the President was standing by the recommendation of the DOH to hold Sanofi responsible, including the demand for refund for Sanofi’s “concealment of a material fact and that is that children who have not developed dengue may acquire the disease three to six years after the vaccination.”

Pimentel warned that officials who will be found liable in the Dengvaxia mess will face graft charges and may be penalized with up to 15 years in prison and perpetual disqualification from public office.

Under the law, Pimentel said entering into any contract or transaction that is deemed “manifestly and grossly disadvantageous” to the government constitutes a corrupt and unlawful practice.

Pimentel likened the purchase of Dengvaxia boosters to buying an automobile that turns out to be a lemon – a product that is unsatisfactory and defective.

“The hustled purchase of P3.5-billion worth of Dengvaxia shots in 2015 may be considered highly detrimental to the government,” Pimentel said.

The President has said he has no plans of filing cases against any former president for the Dengvaxia mess since he believes that the former administration undertook the dengue vaccine program in good faith.
 
SENATE PROBE

The Senate committee on health and demography is set to conduct a separate hearing on the Dengvaxia vaccine controversy to focus on the health issue and mitigating measures to address problems that may arise from the vaccination program.

Committee chair Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito said the separate hearing will give medical experts and members of the academe ample time to discuss health issues of the program.

During the previous hearings conducted by the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, the panel focused more on the procurement of Dengvaxia from Sanofi Pasteur by the previous administration, Ejercito said.

“It’s possible to conduct a hearing on the health aspect so that health experts will be given the chance (to testify). I have to consult the medical experts and members of the academe. (The previous hearings) centered on the procurement (process),” he said.

Ejercito also said he will await the findings of the DOH and the World Health Organization on the investigations they are conducting on the Dengvaxia. The WHO is currently conducting investigations in other countries that procured Dengvaxia.

He also reiterated the liabilities of former Budget Secretary Florencio Abad and former Health Secretary Janette Garin on the mess. During the previous hearing, Abad said the P3.5 billion budget to procure the vaccines was sourced through the savings from Miscellaneous Personnel Benefits Fund and not from the General Appropriations Act of 2015.

He said under the law, then President Aquino could realign the savings for programs necessary. – With Wendell Vigilia and JP Lopez
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