President Duterte warned that those selling coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines will be held accountable, saying they were taking away the opportunity for poor people to receive the free shots.
Duterte made the statement after the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) arrested three individuals, including a registered nurse, for selling COVID-19 vaccines last week.
In his pre-recorded public address aired Wednesday midnight, President Duterte said that those behind the “alarming” illegal sale will be investigated and prosecuted.
“This is a warning and you know how it is, when you are caught, you are arrested, and you are detained, and you have to answer the charges in court,” he said.
“Do not press your luck too far. You might regret it. Warning ko lang sa inyo ‘yan (This is just a warning),” he added.
The President said he will not be forgiving to vaccine sellers because he was extra sensitive to matters involving medicine.
“Nagwa-warning lang ako, huwag ninyong gawin. Kagaya ng droga, huminto kayo (I’m just warning you, do not do it. Just like with illegal drugs. You better stop),” he said.
“Do not wait for the day on its 25th hour, when the hand of the clock shall strike for the bells to toll to sound your kneel of grief. Usually, ang araw is 24 (a day has 24 hours). Do not wait for the 25th hour on that day, because it may be yours,” he added.
According to Duterte, the sale of vaccines deprives the poor of the chance to receive free protection against COVID-19.
Iyong walang pera, ‘yong mahirap ang ma — maalisan ng (Those who do not have money, the poor people, they have) whatever the opportunity or for the slots taken away,” he said.
President Duterte reminded the public that COVID-19 vaccines were free.
“The COVID-19 vaccines given by the government are not for sale. They are given to our poor people for free. Not only to the poor but to the rich so they opt to have vaccinations in the vaccination centers,” he said.
On Monday, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said the government will go “all-out” in getting to the bottom of the illegal sale of COVID-19 vaccines.
“The government will go all out in investigating kung sino po ang nasa likod ng bentahang ito kasi hindi po binibenta ang mga bakuna (who are the people behind this sale because these vaccines should not be sold),” he said.
“Hindi po tayo papayag na nanakawin ang bakuna para magkaroon ng pera ang iba (We cannot let these vaccines get stolen just so some people can make a profit of them),” he added.
He appealed to the public to not take advantage of the pandemic just so they can earn money.
“Mahiya naman po kayo kung pagkakakitaan niyo pa itong pagdadalamhati ng ating bayan dahil sa pandemya (Have shame if you are making a profit from a nation suffering due to the pandemic),” Roque said.