Duterte says Muslim communities in Mindanao resisting vaccination
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday said Muslim communities in Mindanao are resisting vaccination against COVID-19.
“I think the Muslim community dito sa Pilipinas, mukhang ang karamihan is of the belief that it is not allowed by their, I don’t know, is it religion?I might be mistaken but it could be that or something else sa culture nila,” he said in his weekly Talk to the People briefing.
Duterte mentioned an incident at the Manila North Harbor where 136 unvaccinated Tausug people were barred from boarding a vessel with the enforcement of the government’s “no vaccine, no ride” policy.
“Nakita ko ‘yong mga tao na pasahero para sa North Harbor yata ‘yon, na ‘yong iba umiiyak, ‘yong iba kung ano-ano na ang ginagawa kasi stranded sila, they were not allowed to board the ship because walang mga bakuna.And these are — some of them itong mga talagang hindi mo mapipilit,” the President said.
Duterte added that he has already talked with Sulu Governor Sakur Tan, a Tausug himself, about the issue.
“But in Mindanao, just an information to everybody, in Mindanao, the Muslim community are resisting the bakuna.I have yet to — even the Tausug, mabuti na lang nakausap ko si, ‘yong governor, […] Governor Sakur (Tan), and well maybe hindi lahat but the report is some of the Tausugs are not resisting anymore,” Duterte said.
“‘Yon ang nakikita ko do’n, napapauwi sa different places.But I am not confident about their taking of the, the allowing of the vaccines into their bodies because I think it’s something more of a religious belief.I said I may be wrong on two counts, pero ‘yan ang tingin ko, sa Mindanao ayaw talaga, marami doon na simply they do not want it.Period.So walang ano,” he added.
As for the 136 Tausugs who were stranded at the Manila North Harbor, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said they have been taken care of, and have been allowed to board a vessel for their trip to Zamboanga and to other distinations.
“Nagpatawag ako ng agarang meeting […] do’n sa meeting na ‘yon napag-alaman ko na ‘yong taong involved at that moment in time, 136 Tausug including stranded children.Sinabi ko ho na dalawa ang instrucciones: kailangan itong mga stranded children na ito ay mapauwi sa lalong madaling panahon,”
“Sinabi ko dapat bigyan sila ng pagkain, dapat bigyan ng ayuda, dapat intindihin at ‘wag ipagpilitan ‘yong tinatawag na vaccine card at RT-PCR, na kung papayag ang Department of Health, ‘yong local government na magamit ang antigen at maging negative sila, paalisin at palakbayin na […] ‘Yong 136 na ‘yon ay umalis na papuntang Zamboanga at kung saan-saang destinasyon,” he added.
Tugade said the Department of Transportation (DOTr) is also exploring the possibility of setting-up vaccination facilities in public transport areas like ports to serve unvaccinated commuters.
“Kailangan magtayo tayo ng ng onsite na vaccination facilities natin nang sa gano’n, ‘yong mga tinatawag na ayaw magpabakuna or walang vaccination ay agarang mabigyan ng pagkakataong gano’n,” he added.
Recently, the DOTr barred unvaccinated commuters from boarding public transportation, in an effort to curb the rising number of COVID-19 cases due to the more transmissible Omicron variant.
The policy included sea travel, which left unvaccinated travelers stranded at ports.
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