Sat. Jan 29th, 2022

President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday night said he favors mandatory vaccination against Covid-19 should the government’s Covid-19 task force start to implement the policy.

(Photo Courtesy: PNA)

“As a worker of government also in charge of the overall operations of the government, I may agree with the task force [Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases] if they decide to make it mandatory. It’s for public health,” Duterte said in a televised meeting with the National Task Force (NTF) Against Covid-19 and medical experts in Malacañan Palace.

He acknowledged that a law is needed to mandate Filipinos to receive the Covid-19 vaccine shots, but reiterated that government can also use its police power to compel citizens to get vaccinated against Covid-19.

“Government can issue measures that would protect public health, public safety, public order. It’s in the police state. So in some countries, mandatory na (already),” he added. “Under the police power of the state, I can compel you.”

Duterte said he lost so many friends to Covid-19 so he could not fathom why there were still people who refused the Covid-19 vaccine.

“These are people who refused to get vaccinated) because of whatever… religious. I mean no offense, but to those who don’t want to get vaccinated, choose, early demise or live longer?” he asked partly in Filipino.

Duterte’s preference for a mandatory vaccination policy comes amid the looming threat of Omicron, a new Covid-19 variant first detected in Botswana, Southern Africa.

To date, the Philippines imposed tighter travel restrictions to prevent the entry of the Omicron variant.

Duterte suggested keeping Covid-19 vaccination sites open daily to accommodate more individuals who are too busy to get inoculated on weekdays.

“We make the vaccine stations open kung maari (if we can do it) Monday to Sunday even if it would mean a lesser crowd. What’s important is that we get everyone vaccinated because if one gets contaminated, others get it too,” he said partly in Filipino.

He also renewed his call for the public to participate in the country’s three-day nationwide vaccination drive from Nov. 29 to Dec. 1.

“If you haven’t received the vaccine yet) now is the time to do it because it’s a day dedicated to vaccination. So, to private and public offices, if your employees want to get vaccinated, allow them to go out and have the vaccine,” he said in Filipino.

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