Sotto tells IATF to carefully study Duterte's call to penalize unvaccinated individuals

Senate President Vicente "Tito" Sotto III on Thursday, July 29, advised the government's pandemic task force to carefully study and consider factors before pushing for a law that would prohibit unvaccinated individuals from going out.

Senate President Vicente 'Tito' Sotto III (Alvin Kasiban/MANILA BULLETIN File Photo)

President Duterte, on Wednesday night, July 28, said he wants police and barangay officials to bar people who refuse to be vaccinated from leaving their homes as they would be a "walking spreader" of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

He also called for a law that would penalize unvaccinated individuals who are "going around".

"We do not have punitive action that can be taken against the person who does not have a vaccine and go around, making it dangerous for the others," Duterte said.

Asked about this, Sotto said: "IATF (Interagency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease) should think it over well."

"What do you do with those with natural immunities like covid survivors who need not be vaccinated?" the lawmaker said.

During the Senate's plenary session Wednesday, Senator Pia Cayetano raised anew the possibility of restricting movement for the unvaccinated, even as she noted the limited supply of vaccines and conditions for their distribution.

"I do believe this is a public health issue. And it is the right to public health of every Filipino that they can move around freely, therefore, in order to protect their health they must be vaccinated. Those who refuse to be vaccinated, it my humble opinion that we have enough jurisprudence to support that they can be restricted in certain ways," Cayetano said.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said agrees with Cayetano, saying "the police power of the state is broad enough to compel ."

"Indeed, because of the police power of the State, the State can compel vaccination of its population as a matter of public health , assuming, of course, that the vaccines are available," Drilon said.

As of July 27, 11.3 million Filipinos have received their first dose of coronavirus vaccines, while 6.8 million have been fully-vaccinated.