Duterte backs rejection of unvaccinated people by restaurants: 'Huwag silang pakainin'

Published November 24, 2021, 2:51 AM

by Ellson Quismorio

President Duterte has defended the right of restaurants to turn away unvaccinated customers, saying they are potential spreaders of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

(Ali Vicoy/ File photo/ MANILA BULLETIN)

Speaking during the pre-taped “Talk to the People” public briefing late Tuesday night, Nov. 23, Duterte explained that it was justified for restaurants to reject people who have yet to get the COVID-19 jab.

“Kailangan talaga lahat mabakunahan (There’s a real need for everyone to get vaccinated). Ang mga ayaw (Those who refuse), they should not be allowed inside public restaurants or resorts because they are a threat to public health and the safety of the general public. Threat to public health,” he said.

Business establishments like restaurants have begun to accept more people thanks to increased operational capacities. This was made possible by the country’s recent switch to the Alert Level System (ALS), which is more calibrated for commerce as opposed to the old quarantine classification system.

But despite the more lenient protocols and lowered new COVID-19 cases, Duterte noted that there is still a need to deal with unvaccinated people and those who do not follow the proper health protocols.

“‘Yung iba hindi nagma-mask, ‘yung iba naman hindi nago-observe ng — ‘yung sa restaurant, hindi ka nga papasukin kasi (The others don’t wear masks, while the others don’t observe–you won’t be allowed inside the restaurant because) every time you open your mouth pagtapos mag (and then) — you chew something, invariably you spew out — nagi-spread ka ng moisture diyan sa kainan (you’re spreading moisture in the dining area), which may eventually include itong mga (this) COVID-19 virus,” he said .

President Rodrigo Duterte speaks during his pre-recorded “Talk to the People” public briefing on Nov. 23, 2021 (Malacañang photo)

“They are really germs. So ‘yan ang dahilan kung bakit ka na hindi makapasok (So that’s the reason why you can’t enter). And I understand, and I support itong mga (these) restaurants and all na delikado sa contamination sa public (other establishments where there is danger of public contamination). You have my support. Huwag mo silang pakainin (Don’t feed them),” the Chief Executive said.

Perhaps in jest, Duterte advised the restaurant owners to simply tell the unvaccinated individuals to “dine by the sea”.

“Sabihin mo na lang sila na ano — kung ayaw ninyong magpabakuna at hindi kayo tinanggap sa ibang restaurant, doon na lang kayo sa tabing dagat…diyan na lang kayo kasi ‘yung germs ninyo lumilipad ‘yan (Just tell them that — if they refuse to get vaccinated and other restaurants reject them as well, just go dine by the sea…you’re better off there because your germs are spread by air),” he said.

Earlier this month, Duterte cited a similar argument in saying that it’s “legal” for companies to reject job applicants who are unvaccinated.