Duterte threats sparked panic, crowding at vaccination centers – opposition senators

Published August 6, 2021, 4:14 PM

by Mario Casayuran

Opposition senators on Friday, August 6 blamed President Duterte’s threats sparked uncontrolled rush of people at vaccination centers in the National Capital Region (NCR) and in Antipolo city last Thursday August 5.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon simply replied ‘’yes’’ to a Senate media query

whether President Duterte should be blamed for threatening Filipinos that they face arrest if they are not vaccinated.

Another reason for the rush of people at vaccination centers such as the SM Masinag mall in Antipolo or SM San Lazaro was reports that the unvaccinated would be denied of P1,000 to P4,000 Social Amelioration Program (SAP) fund or ‘’ayuda.’’

The ‘’ayuda’’ was to be given during the 14-day Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) in the NCR.

TV coverage of the ‘’mad rush’’ showed hundreds of people standing like packed sardines or at times shoving, disregarding the social distancing protocol at vaccination centers.

Senator Risa Hontiveros noted that ‘’the higher the post, the more consequences our words have.’’

‘’The President should realize by now that the words he utters may be construed as policy. Stirring up doubts and issuing threats for weeks on end don’t help and fuel even more uncertainty among an already weary Filipino public. We’re already more than 500-days under quarantine,’’ she said.

‘’Whether in terms of procuring vaccines, or encouraging health-seeking behavior rather than treating a health crisis as a law-enforcement matter, the buck always stops with the President. Any credit would go to him, but so does the blame,’’ she added.