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Measles outbreak: Politics rears ugly head

A word war broke out Tuesday between opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros and presidential daughter and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, who called on the lawmaker to resign for demanding the that Public Attorney’s Office chief Persida Acosta step down for undermining public confidence in the government immunization program.

“It is saddening that Mayor Sara can call for my resignation but not of those who have condoned the killing of tens of thousands, those who have eroded public trust in the government’s vaccination program, those who have plundered the nation’s coffers, those who have surrendered our sovereignty in the West Philippine Sea and those who have collaborated with the Marcoses in revising history,” Hontiveros said.

“What’s keeping Mayor Sara from going after these people who are the real dangers to our nation and society?” she asked.

Taking the cudgels for Acosta, the mayor also said Hontiveros should provide solutions to help curb the measles outbreak and not merely criticize.

READ: PAO chief: Vaccines lack led to measles outbreak

But Hontiveros maintained that calling for Acosta’s resignation is part of the solution.

“Acosta’s resignation would remove the pseudo-science, fear-mongering and lies that hijacked the Dengvaxia discourse,” she said.

Then she turned the guns on the mayor.

“Every time she attacks me, she validates my work and vindicates my positions on important issues,” Hontiveros said. “Every insult from the mayor is a reading on the barometer I can use, second to none, to confirm how effective my office is in advancing democratic interests and goals.”

“The last time the mayor had something to say about me, she ridiculed me for opposing the lowering of the minimum age of criminal responsibilitym even kindly ‘advising’ me to walk the streets to ‘know the reality on the ground.’ Excuse me, I started my work life as a community organizer among farmers and fisherfolk 30 years ago in Rizal Province,” Hontiveros said.

“And unfortunately for the good mayor, the recent Social Weather Stations survey showed that the majority of Filipinos oppose the lowering of the MACR. How’s that for a reality check? Pardon my

French, but I’m not the one with my head in my ass,” she added.

Health officials in Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon held an emergency meeting to address the rapid rise in measles cases in the region, as the number of infections rose to 70.

“We need to have a uniform strategy in the implementation of the mass immunization activity against measles, especially in the recording, reporting and monitoring of cases,” said the Health department’s regional director for Calabarzon Eduardo C. Janairo.

Janairo said they also want to ensure they have enough supply of vaccines at the local level as well as health personnel who will administer them.

READ: Measles outbreak: 70 dead

Topics: Risa Hontiveros , Sara Duterte , Public Attorney’s Office , Persida Acosta , West Philippine Sea
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