Duque says Acosta’s claim of DOH payoffs to families of Dengvaxia victims “malicious, baseless, a complete lie”

(Eagle News) — “Malicious, baseless and a complete lie.”

This was how Health Secretary Francisco Duque III described on Thursday, Jan. 31, Public Attorneys Office chief Persida Acosta’s claims the Department of Health paid at least four families P50,000 each for them to drop charges related to the Dengvaxia mess.

According to Duque, since he assumed office, he “took immediate action to address” the Dengvaxia mess he “inherited” by “stopping the dengue immunization program implementation.”

Duque said we “proactively set-up priority lanes, hotlines and support groups to understand people’s concerns.”

“Baseless statements like these cause damage to our reputation as the primary government entity mandated to protect the health of all Filipinos,” Duque said.

As a result of Acosta’s “refus(al) to cooperate,” and her continued attacks and “baseless claims and accusations” against him and the DOH, Duque said “we saw a decline in vaccine confidence and a rise in cases of measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases.”

He said DOH staff facilitating support groups have also been “bullied and harassed.”

“We actively extend our help to Filipinos from all walks of life, especially the poorest who come to the government for financial assistance. I am deeply disappointed that our efforts to provide any form of help are twisted and taken negatively,” he said.

Acosta has been active in assisting families whose loved ones died after they were injected with the controversial dengue vaccine.

But according to Duque, there was so far no direct link between the deaths and the vaccine.