COVID-19 Crisis: Senator Marcos says DOH should not dismiss parental consent with regards to the vaccination of children

If you are a parent, are you comfortable about the idea that the government will have authority over your kids so that they would be vaccinated for COVID-19? This is the hot issue that a lot of people have been thinking about as Philippine Senator Imee Marcos reacted to a memorandum issued by the Department of Health (DOH) that enables the government to dismiss parental consent related to the efforts of vaccinating minors, according to a Manila Bulletin report. It should be noted that the government just launched a new COVID-19 vaccination campaign aimed at kids aged 5 to 11-years-old.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the Manila Bulletin report. Some parts in boldface…

Senator Imee Marcos on Sunday said she is outraged at the Department of Health (DOH) for releasing a memorandum that enables the government to dismiss parental consent if a child is willing to be vaccinated.

Marcos reminded the DOH that the government should not and can’t usurp parental authority.

Government cannot usurp parental authority. Parents have the right to decide on the health and safety of their children,” Marcos said in a statement.

Marcos is referring to the controversial memorandum issued last January 24 stating that the government can act as “parens patriae” – Latin for parent of the nation – when a child wants to be vaccinated but parental consent is denied.

Stated on Page 6 of the memorandum stated that: “In case the parent/guardian refuses to give consent to the vaccination despite the desire and willingness of the minor child to have himself/herself vaccinated, or there are no Persons that may legally exercise parental authority over the child, the State may act as parens patriae and give the necessary consent. Therefore, the proper officer representing the State as parens patriae may sign the consent form. In this regard, the DSWD or its city/municipal counterparts shall serve as the proper office who shall represent the State.”

“The DOH has a lot of explaining to do. This isn’t the first time it committed a gaffe of such magnitude,” Marcos pointed out.

Last December 2021, the government announced it had bought some 15 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine to inoculate children 5 to 11 years old, but they were forced to move the start of the COVID-19 vaccination campaign for minors to Monday, due to logistical problems.

The senator said she hopes that the push to vaccinate children is “really for their sake and not for the sake of vaccine purchases already made.”

Senator Marcos pointed out that government cannot just usurp the authority of parents who themselves have rights to manage and decide on the health of their kids. Think about that carefully…government becoming the authority over the children and rolling over the parents? The government, which itself changes as a result of elections being held every few years, would be the parent or guardian of children on health matters?

Government on any level here in the Philippines is flawed, bureaucratic and cannot move efficiently. Governance itself could reflect the personality or mindset of the elected officials. Regardless, I should point out that no matter what kind of good intentions or grand plans elected officials have for the people, there will always be blunders that will cause inconvenience or even cause harm to the people. Look at the City of Parañaque where their Pfizer vaccine launch last May was so chaotic and heavily covered by the media. On the issue of dealing with their unvaccinated members of their constituents, Parañaque’s restrictions on the unvaccinated still remained in effect even though the quarantine level of control in Metro Manila was officially lowered into Alert Level 2.

On the issue of government rolling over the parents and having authority over their children, there already is resistance as a petition was filed at the Quezon City Regional Trial Court seeking the issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO) versus the COVID-19 vaccination of minors aged 5 to 11-years-old. The people who filed the petition are parents and their case challenged the constitutionality of the DOH’s Memorandum No. 2022-0041. Clearly the DOH and its top officials have explaining to do.  

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: If you are a parent with children aged 5 to 17, are you willing to let government take authority away from you as public officials have the intention of vaccinating minors for COVID-19? Are you concerned that the Philippines is slowly drifting towards tyranny? Do you support Senator Marcos’ stance towards the DOH? Do you think it is time for DOH’s top officials to resign even though the Duterte administration now has only a few months left before the end of its service? Who do you think wrote the DOH memorandum?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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