‘It was a good move to insist vaccination’: Duterte raises possibility of mandatory jabs
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte claimed that the government’s stern push for COVID-19 vaccinations, despite the opposition of some sectors, was responsible for the downtrend of infections right now despite the pandemic.
Duterte on Tuesday also raised the possibility of the government requiring vaccinations for people, to ensure that the pandemic is kept at bay especially with the threat of the Omicron variant looming.
“Alam mo sa totoo lang, despite the opposition posed by some sectors in our society, it was really a good move to insist on vaccination. At hindi tayo nakinig d’yan sa sinasabi na you have your freedom to refuse,” the President told Health Secretary Francisco Duque who was present during the briefing.
“If you are going to an office (and) ayaw mo (magpabakuna), tapos you contaminate the whole of the office, eh ganito ‘yan eh. The mandatory, actually, vaccination can be insisted upon by the state on its people on the ground, using the police power of the state, meaning to say to compel you whether you like it or not because your continued refusal would really be a danger element,” he added.
In that scenario, Duterte said that if people refuse getting vaccinated against COVID-19, law enforcers can just ask them kindly to stay indoors and avoid placing people and the whole community at risk of getting infected.
“If you do not want to get vaccinated, we can always courteously ask you to do not go out of the house so that you will not be putting in jeopardy the rest of your neighborhood, the rest of your neighbors and everybody,” he explained.
The President mentioned the government’s vaccination drive after Duque said that the new wave of COVID-19 cases in other countries, caused by the Omicron variant, will be a learning experience for the Philippines to not repeat the same mistakes.
This also came as Duterte admitted being scared of the possibility of a surge due to the Omicron variant, as the government’s coffers have been depleted due to the recent disaster caused by Typhoon Odette.
“So tayo talaga sir, we have learned our lessons from the, I would say the failures of other countries. And that is why ‘yon pong kakasabi ninyo (ng) mask, hugas, iwas, bakuna, napaka-mahalaga po ‘yon Mr. President, araw-arawin po natin, gano’n po ang ating mensahe,” Duque reiterated.
“Ako if you ask me, all along we were correct in our stand,” Duterte replied.
On Monday, DOH confirmed that a returning Filipino who already tested negative got the COVID-19 Omicron variant, pushing the number of travelers who had the Omicron and entered the country to to three, including those who came from Japan and Nigeria.
Currently, the country has seen a continuous decrease in COVID-19 infections per day and in the active infection count. DOH said on Tuesday that active cases are only at 9,384, as only 168 new cases were recorded, while 372 patients recovered.
However, experts have warned of a possible spike in cases before the year ends or by early January if the Omicron variant is not kept in check, and if observance of health protocols fall by 30 percent.
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