President Duterte appealed to “anti-vaxxers” or people who do not believe in vaccines, to “go with the trend,” reiterating that getting vaccinated is the best way to overcome the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Duterte made the statement after noting that at least 44 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered throughout the country.
In his pre-recorded public address Monday evening, September 27, the President mentioned how he heard a doctor supposedly expressing reservations about the vaccine. According to Duterte, statements like these could just make things worse.
“If you are convincing enough in your arguments, people might just listen to you and that will be a problem,” he said.
“Sana kung ganito naman na ayaw mo, tumahimik ka na lang (I just wish that if you don’t want it, you just keep quiet),” he added.
Duterte likewise acknowledge that every person has the right to free speech but he stressed that getting vaccinated is the best way to overcome the health crisis.
“There’s a freedom of speech in our country, hindi kami nag-ano diyan (We are not disputing that),” he said.
“Sana naman (I just wish) you will go with the almost general trend all over the world [that] vaccination, or to get vaccinated or inoculated is really the best defense for yourself and for your fellowmen,” he added.
President Duterte affirmed that getting vaccinated has been the government’s repeated appeal to the public. He once again floated exercising the State’s police power to compel the people to take the shot.
He said the people’s personal reasons for not getting vaccinated are irrelevant to the government.
“‘Wag mo sabihin na ang relihiyon mo o ayaw ng aming paniwala, ‘I just don’t believe it’, Well, I’m sorry. Yung ganoon (Don’t say that it is against your religion or your faith or you just don’t believe it. I’m sorry. Those remarks), it is completely irrelevant to us in government,” Duterte said.
“Mabuti’t magkaintindihan tayo niyan (It’s good that we sort that out). Because if everybody does not comply with the vaccines and we can have a widespread wildfire spread, then the police must go in and intervene in your private life so that you cannot be a danger to society,” he added.
Despite this, the President said it is not the government’s business to “scare” people into doing what they do not want to do.
“Hindi naman ito takutan (We are not threatening you). Government does not instill fear. Government can appeal,” he said.
“Government can talk, and government can pray and hope that you will listen,” he added.