Robredo appeals to parents: Vaccinate your children vs measles

Mara Cepeda
Robredo appeals to parents: Vaccinate your children vs measles
'Hindi ito panahon para sa pulitika o alitan, panahon ito para sa pagkilos,' says Vice President Leni Robredo, as the Philippines deals with outbreaks of measles

MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo urged parents to have their children vaccinated against measles, after outbreaks were declared in parts of Luzon and the Visayas.

On Thursday evening, February 7, the Vice President posted a video message on Facebook to convince parents that vaccinations work. (READ: Dengvaxia controversy: Immunization drops, measles outbreaks soar

“Sa lahat ng mga magulang na nakikinig sa atin ngayon, nanawagan po ako sa inyo na bigyang pansin sa lalong madaling panahon ang pagpapabakuna ng ating mga anak at ng buong pamilya laban sa tigdas. Buhay at kaligtasan ng ating mga mahal sa buhay ang nakasalalay,” said Robredo.

(To all parents listening right now, I call on you to vaccinate your children and the rest of your family against measles. The lives and safety of our loved ones are at stake.)

She said there is no reason to doubt vaccines that have long been proven effective in preventing diseases like measles. 

Robredo also said she supports the call of the Department of Health (DOH) for the public to avail of free immunization programs being offered in local health centers. 

“Magtulungan po tayo na muling bumalik ang tiwala ng publiko sa wastong pagbabakuna, upang hindi magkaroon ng mas malawakang outbreak ang tigdas at iba pang nakahahawang sakit,” said the Vice President.

(Let’s work together to bring back the public’s trust in proper vaccinations, so we can avoid widespread outbreaks of measles and other diseases.) 

As of January 26, the DOH’s Epidemiology Bureau reported an “increasing trend” in measles cases in the Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Mimaropa, and Bicol. (READ: DOH: Measles outbreak expands to other areas of Luzon, Visayas

Dengvaxia scare influenced the outbreaks: The country’s immunization rates have gone down since the Dengvaxia controversy erupted in November 2017, when dengue vaccine maker Sanofi Pasteur announced its product may lead a person to get severe dengue if he or she had not been infected by the virus before immunization. 

Dengvaxia was the vaccine used in the dengue immunization program for grade school students in Metro Manila, Central Luzon, and Calabarzon, implemented in April 2016 during the administration of ex-president Benigno Aquino III. Aquino is allies with Robredo in the Liberal Party.

The DOH immediately suspended the program, but not before more than 800,000 kids had received the risky vaccine. 

Since then, the likes of Public Attorney’s Office chief Persida Acosta have attributed deaths of several vaccinated children to Dengvaxia, even if the DOH has repeatedly said there is no conclusive proof yet that the vaccine caused the deaths. (READ: ‘Panic’ over Dengvaxia harms other vital vaccination programs, health experts say

These “wild claims” about Dengvaxia made parents scared to immunize their children for other diseases. (READ: Año: Dengvaxia scare caused measles outbreaks in PH)

Robredo said that with hundreds of children getting the vaccine-preventable measles, now is not the time to point fingers. 

“Nababahala tayo sa mga balitang siksikan na ang mga batang may tigdas sa mga pagamutan. Nakakalungkot din ang balita na ilang bata na ang naitalang nabawian ng buhay. Hindi ito panahon para sa pulitika o alitan, panahon ito para sa pagkilos. Bilang isang ina, hindi katanggap-tanggap para sa akin na umabot tayo sa ganito,” said Robredo, a mother of 3.

(We are concerned with reports saying hospitals are overflowing with children who got measles. It is sad to know that some of these children died. This is not the time for politics or fighting, this is the time for us to act. As a mother, I find it unacceptable that we have reached this point.) 

“Pero may magagawa pa tayo. Pabakunahan na natin ang ating mga anak at mahal sa buhay sa lalong madaling panahon,” said the Vice President. 

(But we can do something. Let us vaccinate our children and our loved ones at the soonest possible time.) –

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at or tweet @maracepeda.