June 20, 2018, 2:44 am
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1 Philippine Peso = 0.01621 Euro
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1 Philippine Peso = 0.87962 Gambian Dalasi
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1 Philippine Peso = 3.88526 Guyana Dollar
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1 Philippine Peso = 0.44866 Honduras Lempira
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1 Philippine Peso = 261.46479 Indonesian Rupiah
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1 Philippine Peso = 0.31576 Moldovan Leu
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1 Philippine Peso = 25.69014 Myanmar Kyat
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1 Philippine Peso = 0.15181 Macau Pataca
1 Philippine Peso = 6.66667 Mauritania Ougulya
1 Philippine Peso = 0.65765 Mauritius Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.29239 Maldives Rufiyaa
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1 Philippine Peso = 0.3853 Mexican Peso
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1 Philippine Peso = 0.25797 Namibian Dollar
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1 Philippine Peso = 2.0385 Nepalese Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0272 New Zealand Dollar
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1 Philippine Peso = 0.01878 Panama Balboa
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06164 Peruvian Nuevo Sol
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06142 Papua New Guinea Kina
1 Philippine Peso = 1 Philippine Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 2.28545 Pakistani Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06993 Polish Zloty
1 Philippine Peso = 106.70047 Paraguayan Guarani
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06835 Qatar Rial
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1 Philippine Peso = 1.1966 Russian Rouble
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1 Philippine Peso = 0.07042 Saudi Arabian Riyal
1 Philippine Peso = 0.14841 Solomon Islands Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.25277 Seychelles Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.33719 Sudanese Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.16718 Swedish Krona
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02548 Singapore Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01426 St Helena Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.41701 Slovak Koruna
1 Philippine Peso = 149.29577 Sierra Leone Leone
1 Philippine Peso = 10.57277 Somali Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 397.4216 Sao Tome Dobra
1 Philippine Peso = 0.16432 El Salvador Colon
1 Philippine Peso = 9.67099 Syrian Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.25817 Swaziland Lilageni
1 Philippine Peso = 0.61446 Thai Baht
1 Philippine Peso = 0.04845 Tunisian Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.04326 Tongan paʻanga
1 Philippine Peso = 0.08905 Turkish Lira
1 Philippine Peso = 0.12487 Trinidad Tobago Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.56648 Taiwan Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 42.59155 Tanzanian Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 0.49596 Ukraine Hryvnia
1 Philippine Peso = 72.33803 Ugandan Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01878 United States Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.59211 Uruguayan New Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 147.69953 Uzbekistan Sum
1 Philippine Peso = 1498.59155 Venezuelan Bolivar
1 Philippine Peso = 429.12676 Vietnam Dong
1 Philippine Peso = 2.02911 Vanuatu Vatu
1 Philippine Peso = 0.04869 Samoa Tala
1 Philippine Peso = 10.62592 CFA Franc (BEAC)
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0507 East Caribbean Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 10.62592 CFA Franc (BCEAO)
1 Philippine Peso = 1.92432 Pacific Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 4.69202 Yemen Riyal
1 Philippine Peso = 0.25823 South African Rand
1 Philippine Peso = 97.4554 Zambian Kwacha
1 Philippine Peso = 6.79624 Zimbabwe dollar

Argumentum ad Acosta

FOLKS young and old have been bombarded these past weeks with multiple media appearances of Public Attorney’s Office chief Persida Acosta and her trusty sidekick, Dr. Erwin Erfe, on the subject of unfortunate deaths of children (and most recently, an adult male) that they claim to be related to the Dengvaxia vaccine. Reports are rife with accounts of parents refusing to have other vaccines administered to their children, to the extent that even non-vaccine interventions like deworming are affected. We now hear of a measles outbreak in Davao and in an undisclosed barangay in Taguig, and if this shrillness from Acosta and Erfe continue, we are sure to see more.

Critics have accused Acosta of appropriating medicine as her expertise, given her conclusive statements about the cause of death of the victims. This criticism is not without basis, given Acosta’s propensity to don medical scrubs and other paraphernalia for media interviews. Some media outlets (especially one prime time news show) seem to have bought the charade hook, line and sinker, playing these images and statements over and over. This news show even has an almost nightly segment on a new death reportedly linked to Dengvaxia, carrying only the “expert” pronouncements of Acosta and Erfe.

Notwithstanding the amount of coverage the issue has received from media, some may wonder how we Filipinos have become so vulnerable to people like Acosta, who seem to have no qualms to use every microphone thrust in her face to push her narrative. It’s a classic case of argumentum ad verecundiam, or an appeal to authority. This logical fallacy happens when a claim is said to be true simply because an expert said so, without checking whether or not there is independent evidence to prove the claim. This fallacy’s close kin applies more appropriately to this case, called the appeal to false or unqualified authority, wherein a statement is said to be true on the say so of someone who may be an expert in one field but not the subject at hand.

Without noticing it, you hear this fallacy committed in everyday conversations: “Drink this medicine, Dr. X said that it’s good,” or “Y is a lawyer. I’m sure his interpretation is correct,” and so on. We never inquire if the cited authority is an asthma specialist, neurologist, corporate lawyer or litigator. Good professionals will always tell you whether something is within their field of specialization, and will refer you to another expert who can competently assist with your situation. We tend to put a lot of stock in the opinion of professionals, as recognition and respect for the work and study required to attain that license. You see this with our deference to titles: even in normal conversation, doctors and lawyers are rarely called by their first or last names without “Doc” or “Atty.” appended to it. If you doubt the obsession with titles, all you have to do is open a wedding invitation and look at the way the names of principal sponsors are written: Mayor, Senator, Honorable, Doctor, Engineer. It’s as if omitting these titles is a sort of social gaffe, in the same way that challenging their opinions on matters not within their expertise is seen as disrespectful.

Acosta and Erfe are both living and breathing examples of argumentum ad verecundiam. Both make conclusions of fact as if these were gospel truth, unnecessarily worrying thousands of parents all over the country. Never mind that Acosta is not a doctor by profession. In Erfe’s case, the fallacy paints a clearer picture: here you have a medical doctor conducting autopsies when there are (as Acosta herself admitted) only two forensic pathologists in the country qualified to perform these procedures, and Erfe is not one of them. Acosta justified Erfe’s work by attacking the two pathologists (Cecilia Lim and Racquel Fortun,) saying that they had a conflict of interest in the issue. I hate to break it to the aspiring Supreme Court associate justice, but attacking the two women won’t give Erfe the needed credentials to become a forensic pathologist, nor will it give credence to his “findings.”

More and more medical professionals are coming out to call for calm. Let’s hope this wave continues. Whether or not there is a direct causal link between the deaths and Dengvaxia is something that should be addressed by competent scientists and medical professionals, minus the fainting and general shrillness courtesy of Acosta. Let the courts handle the accountability aspect of the problem. In the meantime, government and the Department of Health should move to arrest the escalation of the situation quickly, lest we want outbreaks of preventable diseases in our communities.
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