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DOH welcomes Duterte’s Asian investigative panel on Dengvaxia mess

The Department of Health on Wednesday welcomed President Rodrigo Duterte's decision to tap a three-person panel of Asian health experts to clarify the conflicting findings on the Dengvaxia controversy.

“We welcome the policy statement of the President to invite foreign experts from neighboring [Association of Southeast Asian] countries. This is a directive that must be respected and fully complied with,” Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III said in a statement.

Foreign pathologists will be invited to scrutinize findings from the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) and the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) in relation to the dengue immunization program.

All of their outputs will be submitted directly to the Department of Justice and additional mechanisms will be set up to ensure their full independence.

Meanwhile, the DOH is awaiting the passage of Senate Bill 1769 and House Bill 7449, proposed measures designed to reallocate the P1.16 billion refunded by Dengvaxia manufacturer Sanofi Pasteur for the creation of the Dengvaxia Assistance Program.

Duterte ordered the formation of the panel during the Cabinet meeting in Malacañang on Monday, where Duque presented current findings on the controversial dengue vaccine program. — Rie Takumi/MDM, GMA News