Duterte warns arrest of anti-vaxxers to protect people from COVID carriers

Published June 22, 2021, 1:01 AM

by Genalyn Kabiling

Get vaccinated or else face possible arrest.

President Duterte has threatened to order the arrest of the anti-vaxxers or people who refuse to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.

A health worker prepares to vaccinate a resident of Tondo, Manila during an inoculation drive on June 20, 2021 (Ali Vicoy/ Manila Bulletin)

The President said people should get their coronavirus jabs or else he might order local officials to collect the “tally” of these potential carriers of the virus and “sequester” them.

“For as long as you are here and you are a human being and can carry the virus, eh magpabakuna ka (get vaccinated) otherwise I will order all the barangay captains to have a tally of the people who refused to be vaccinated,” he said during a televised address from Davao City Monday, June 21.

“I’ll task the DILG (Department of Interior and Local Government) to do that to look for these persons. Kung hindi (if not), I will order their arrest sa totoo lang. Why? Because if you are a person na hindi ka vaccinated, you are a potential carrier. To protect the people, I have to sequester you in jail,” he added.

Duterte further said: “Mamili kayo: Magpabakuna kayo o ipakulong ko kayo sa selda (Choose: Get vaccinated or I’ll put you in jail).”

A former prosecutor, Duterte said he would “think it over very hard legally” but renewed his threat to arrest the people refusing to receive the COVID-19 vaccines.

He appealed to the anti-vaxxers not to “force his arm” and resort to such extreme measure. He advised those reluctant to get vaccinated to leave the country instead.

“Kung hindi kayo magpabakuna, umalis ka na sa Pilipinas. Go to India if you, somewhere, America,” he said.

Duterte admitted that he was “exasperated” with some Filipinos who refused to heed the government’s plea for vaccination. He said the government has no other goal but to ensure the safety and health of the people.

More than 2 million people have completed their two-dose vaccination since the government started the inoculation campaign last March. The government aims to vaccinate as many as 70 million Filipinos before the end of the year to achieve herd immunity.