JUSTICE Secretary Menardo Guevarra will order the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to probe the fire at the Zamboanga del Sur Provincial Health Office that destroyed more than 148,000 doses of vaccines against COVID-19 “if there was indication of arson.”
“We’ll wait for the initial assessment of the Bureau of Fire Protection. If there are any indications of foul play, I will request the NBI regional office to step in,” Guevarra said in a message.
The fire last Sunday razed through the provincial cold storage facility located at the Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO) in Pagadian City, the capital of Zamboanga del Sur, where various brands of vaccines were kept.
An initial report stated that the fire began at the ground floor maintenance hall, below the IPHO.
According to a joint statement by the National Task Force Against COVID-19, the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), the fire destroyed 148,678 doses—88,938 of Pfizer-BioNTech, 36,164 of Sinovac, 14,400 of Moderna and 9,176 of AstraZeneca vaccines.