Army chief confirms some military personnel received COVID-19 vaccine
MANILA, Philippines —Philippine Army chief Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana on Monday confirmed that some members of the military have been already received the COVID-19 vaccine.
“I know of some but I could just not disclose the unit. Ayun na po, personally, I know na mayroon nang nabakunahan sa hanay ng Armed Forces (I know that there are some from the AFP who have been vaccinated),” he said in an interview on DWIZ.
He did not disclose the number of military men who have been inoculated but revealed that some are officials and non-commissioned officers.
Sobejana likewise did not disclose what candidate vaccine was administered to members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
He, however, revealed that the decision to inoculate some members of the military stemmed from President Rodrigo Duterte to protect them against COVID-19 considering that they are frontliners.
“Of course, our President is our commander-in-chief sa AFP, I should say that it’s from the chain of command of the Armed Forces,” he said.
“We are optimistic naman po na itong vaccine na naibigay sa ating mga sundalo ay magiging epektibo para lalo tayong makapagbigay ng magandang serbisyo sa ating mga kababayan,” Sobejana added.
(I am optimistic that the vaccine is effective and will enable our troops to serve the country.)
Sobejana’s remarks ran contrary to the statement of the AFP’s spokesman, Maj. Gen. Edgard Arevalo, who said that there is no AFP-sanctioned vaccination drive within the military.
“Wala po tayong alam na AFP-sanctioned na binakunahan ng Armed Forces of the Philippines,” Arevalo said Monday in a televised briefing.
(We don’t know of any AFP-sanctioned vaccination or vaccinated by the Armed Forces of the Philippines.)
“Ngayon, kung meron pong ganyang mga report, hayaan po ninyo na i-validate natin ito upang sa ganun ay malaman natin ang detalye na meron po hinggil sa balita na yan,” he added.
(Now, if there are reports as such, let us validate to know the details regarding this report.)
Last Saturday, President Rodrigo Duterte said a number of Filipinos, including military personnel, have already received the COVID-19 vaccine from China’s Sinopharm.
“Halos lahat ng sundalo natusukan na. I have to be frank, I have to tell the truth…marami nang nagpatusok and lahat up to now wala akong narinig for the select few, not all soldiers, not all soldiers hindi pa kasi policy eh,” he said last Saturday.
Interior Secretary Eduardo Año also confirmed on Monday that some members of the Cabinet as well as the Presidential Security Group (PSG) received COVID-19 vaccine shots.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.