COVID vaccination for Pinoys should focus on incentives, not penalties — Robredo

Published November 6, 2021, 3:52 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

Incentivize, not penalize.

(Mark Balmores/ File photo/ MANILA BULLETIN)

Vice President Leni Robredo has pitched this strategy in connection with proposals to make vaccination against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) mandatory among Filipinos.

Robredo, who has been in Negros Occidental since Friday, Nov. 5, said it’s better to offer incentives to the people for getting vaccinated instead of penalizing them for choosing to remain unvaccinated.

“Para kasi sa akin, mas mabuti na kapag may hesitance, mas mabuti na i-incentivize. I-incentivize sila para magpa-bakuna kaysa pinaparusahan iyong mga ayaw magpa-bakuna (For me, it’s better to incentivize people if there is hesitance. Let’s incentivize them to convince them to get the jab, instead of punishing them for refusing it),” she told reporters Saturday, Nov. 6.

The national government has said the past few weeks that it has an “abundant” supply of COVID-19 vaccines. This has led to proposals from some quartets to make inoculation from COVID-19 a requirement instead of a voluntary thing.

Robredo, who is running for the Palace seat in the May 2022 election, said she is one with the campaign to “vaccinate as many people as possible”.

She noted that she has seen first hand in her office’s programs that giving incentives work.

“Mayroon kaming Vaccine Express na nagvo-volunteer kami to go to the farthest of places para lang mabakunahan. Nag-volunteer kami na bakunahan iyong mga OFWs (We have the Vaccine Express program wherein we volunteer to go to the farthest of places just to vaccinate people. We volunteered to vaccinate overseas Filipino workers). Just the other day, we were in Capas, Tarlac. Iyong binakunahan namin mga Aetas (We vaccinated aetas).

“Tingin ko, hindi effective na way iyong paparusahan mo o ifa-fine mo o hindi mo bibigyan ng pagkakataon. Nakita naman namin sa mga programs namin na when you give incentives, iyong mga tao naman pumapayag ng kusang loob (I think penalizing, imposing fines, and taking opportunities from people aren’t effective. We’ve seen in our programs that if you give incentives, the people will end up volunteering) and I think, it’s the more effective way,” Robredo said.