Duterte tells local execs: Convince your constituents to get COVID-19 shot or face sanctions

Published October 25, 2021, 10:55 PM

by Argyll Cyrus Geducos

“Either you follow us, or you have to answer to Secretary [Eduardo] Año ng (of the) DILG (Department of the Interior and Local Government).”

President Rodrigo Duterte (Malacañang file photo)

This was President Duterte’s message to local chief executives as he worried that the Philippines may not meet its target anti-coronavirus (COVID-19) inoculation by the end of the year if they will not be able to convince their constituents to get vaccinated.

Duterte made the statement as he noted that some 25 million individuals have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

The government targets to fully vaccinate 50 million individuals by the end of 2021. As of October 24, 2021, some 55.7 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered, 25 million of which are the second dose and single-dose vaccinations.

In his pre-recorded public address late Monday, October 25, the President cited the need to boost the country’s vaccination rate.

“We need to ramp up the vaccination rate in various LGUs in order to reach our target of inoculating 50 million individuals by the end of the year. We cannot reach this target if we plateau at 400,000 or 500,000 daily jabs,” he said.

He put the different local government units (LGUs) up to the task, saying they have to step up their game.

“I urge LGUs to come up with a more systematic and efficient way of finding out who among your constituents have not yet vaccinated. Please do everything to convince them to get vaccinated,” he said.

“Either you follow us, or you have to answer to Secretary Año ng (of the) DILG,” he said.

According to the President, local executives can be dismissed from office if they are slapped even with administrative charges.

“It includes dismissal from office. Suspension, mga ganoon (things like that). Forfeiture of pay, or outright dismissal,” he said.

He asked the mayors and even barangay captains to personally roam around to encourage their constituents to get vaccinated against the deadly virus.

“Magpasyal lang siya ng kalahating araw. Tanungin niya kung sino pa ang hindi nabakunahan (He should go around for half-a-day and ask who else is not yet vaccinated),” Duterte said.

“Kung, sabi ko nga, may cooperation lang tayo ng lahat ng mayor pati barangay captains, walang problema (As I said, if only our mayors and barangay captains cooperate, there won’t be any problem),” he added.

Duterte said that local executives should impose their authority for the good of the public.

“You have to impose your authority, not impose your will. Anything that you do, anything that we do here, this is not– hindi naman ito atin (This is not for us),” he said.

“Wala naman tayong makuha dito magpagalit-galit ka. But you know, you have to– Sabihin mo na, ‘Sunod ka nito kasi ito utos ng gobyerno’ (We won’t gain anything from getting mad. But you know, you have to tell them to obey because it’s the order of the government),” he added.

As of October 24, the Philippines has received more than 97.6 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines.

In addition, more than 9,900 pediatric vaccinations in 26 hospitals have been recorded as of October 24 according to the Department of Health (DOH). Around 144,000 minors are targeted for vaccination under the two-phase pediatric vaccination pilot in Metro Manila with priority to those with comorbidities.