Karapatang Kalusugan: Prioritize People’s Right to Health Over Profit and Foreign Interests!

U.S Anti-vax Campaign Against China

On June 14, 2024, Reuters’ Investigative journalists, Chris Bring and Joel Schectman revealed that the U.S. military used an anti-vaccination program amid the height of the pandemic to discredit China’s Sinovac vaccine and push U.S. interests. One of the program’s targets was the Filipino people. The height of the misinformation campaign through social media likely occurred when the Philippines had one of the worst COVID-19 surges and uptick in deaths in the Southeast Asia region, worsened by only 2% of the population being vaccinated at the time. Slow vaccine uptake continues today with low uptake of booster vaccines.

Our People Used & Suffered

The revelation comes as a deep blow to the Filipino people, especially frontline workers, as the Philippines continues to grapple with severe challenges of an underdeveloped and foreign-controlled healthcare system due to decades long lack of national industrialization in the country.

Far too many of our people’s efforts during the COVID pandemic were undermined by foreign-controlled research and propaganda that were hidden from the people. We saw the horrors of the pandemic including lack of resources, distrust in vaccines among Filipinos, and worst, preventable deaths. This exposé from Reuters on the role of U.S. military in the anti-vax campaign needs to be brought to the public attention and lead to systematic examination as well as criticisms of the real structural and political drivers of the pandemic and its consequences.

Arcelita Imasa, MD
NAFCON National Council

source: https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/usa-covid-propaganda/

I have seen the U.S. public health system propped up by fears of bioterrorism and biowarfare. And yet, here we have the U.S. encouraging this exact medium through a misinformation campaign. I had to see our kababayans dying in our homeland and here in the U.S. from COVID-19. How much money could have been directed to saving lives instead of this? How did this indirectly lead to the spread of the virus and deaths among Filipinos and facilitated continued spread of the virus? This campaign endangered not just Filipinos, but all of us.

Jason Singson, MPH
Applied Epidemiologist in Infectious Disease and Health Equity
Worked as a COVID-19 response epidemiologist

In the United States, we witnessed how similar propaganda approaches by U.S. leaders led to a 339% nationwide increase in anti-Asian hate attacks in 2022, causing harm to many and tragically resulting in the loss for some. This includes violent attacks on Filipino migrants and frontline workers such as the Roques, Arriola-Ochengco couple, and numerous others who still await the justice they rightfully deserve

Nerissa Roque, Filipina victim of an Anti-Asian hate attack seeking for justice outside the Van Nuys Courthouse in Los Angeles.
Julienne Ochengco and Nikki Arriola, victims of a violent attack in Sacramento, demands for justice outside the Sacramento Capitol Building

In 2022, NAFCON launched ‘Karapatang Kalusugan: People’s Right to Health’ to combat government neglect, corruption, and profit-driven policies amid a severe public health crisis. We advocate for a people-centered approach to health, livelihoods, housing, and protection, amid ongoing economic and public health crises with understaffed hospitals, inadequate housing, and limited healthcare access for many Filipinos in the U.S. and the Philippines. We call for national industrialization to create a healthcare system independent of profit motives and foreign dependency. Lastly, we condemn the exploitation of Filipino lives for foreign interests and war-mongering agendas.