Duterte open to making jabs mandatory; Cabinet mulls ‘pressuring’ the unvaccinated
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte said on Monday that he would accept it if the Inter-Agency Task Force would propose to make it mandatory for everyone to get vaccinated against COVID-19
Earlier, Duterte had met with the National Task Force Against COVID-19 (NTF) to discuss the emergence of the COVID-19 Omicron variant.
“I may agree with the task force if they decide to make it mandatory. It’s for public health. Now, if you refuse, don’t go out,” Duterte said, speaking in a mix of English and Filipino, in his taped weekly briefing, “Talk to the People.”
Duterte said that some countries had already been made COVID-19 vaccination mandatory.
“But here the human rights [advocates] are making noise,” Duterte said.
He threatened to tap the police to “compel obedience” if the Omicron variant should turn out to be more dangerous than the present variants of COVID-19.
On the other hand, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said that, instead of making vaccination mandatory, the government should put some pressure on the unvaccinated.
“We won’t make it mandatory, but at least, we’ll make it harder for them to live while there’s a pandemic. It’s because of mutations — if we can’t achieve herd immunity,” Año said, speaking in a mix of English and Filipino.
He said several local governments had declared vaccinations mandatory.
Citing Section 16 of the Local Government Code, Año said “a local chief executive can issue executive orders or ordinances that will protect constituents and that “is considered legal unless stopped by the court.”
“So while there’s a pandemic, those in the labor sector, we really designed that policy to force laborers to be vaccinated,” he said.
“If we just keep paying for RT-PCR [testing], our policy will practically have no effect ang policy. They may just become accustomed to it,” he added.
The World Health Organization has warned that the Omicron variant posed ‘a very high’ global risk.
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