Duterte ‘okay’ with persons refusing vaccination: ‘This is a democracy’
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte appears to have changed his tune, now saying he’s “okay” with persons refusing vaccination against COVID-19, the Philippines being a democracy.
“You who don’t want to get vaccinated, it’s okay with me. It’s like this: Ideally, if the government would really force you… but this is a democracy,” Duterte said, speaking partly in Filipino, in his weekly taped speech that started airing late Monday and ran until early Tuesday.
In an earlier briefing, the president said he would ask the police and barangay chiefs to escort unvaccinated people back to their homes.
Duterte also threatened that persons refusing vaccination might be arrested.
Despite his remarks, Duterte encouraged the public to be vaccinated.
“I will tell you Filipinos, the first opportunity [you have], get vaccinated. It might save your life. It might not yet be your time. Life has its seasons [pana-panahon]. If you get vaccinated, you might yet reach old age. That’s my message to you,” Duterte said.
Over 12.5 million persons have so far been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The government aims to inoculate 50 to 70 million persons by year-end.
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