Duterte says he'd favor making COVID vaccination mandatory; here's why

Published November 30, 2021, 3:21 AM

by Ellson Quismorio

President Duterte says he’s inclined to approve a proposal to make vaccination against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) mandatory among Filipinos, should the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) come up with one.

President Rodrigo Duterte listens to a Cabinet member’s presentation during his ‘Talk to the People” public briefing on Nov. 29, 2021 (Malacañang photo)

“You know, I — as a worker of government also in charge [of] the overall operation of the government, I may agree with the task force if they decide to make it mandatory. It’s for public health,” Duterte said on Monday night, Nov.29 during his pre-recorded “Talk to the People” public briefing.

The Chief Executive made these remarks amid the threat posed to the Philippines by the mysterious Omicron variant of COVID-19.

Incidentally, the national government also launched its three-day national vaccination drive dubbed “Bayanihan, Bakunahan” on Monday.

According to Duterte, inoculation against COVID-19 is already mandatory in other countries.

“So in some countries, mandatory na (It’s already mandatory). Dito, maingay ang human rights (Over here, human rights groups make a lot of noise)…Well, human rights says, nandoon man tayo sa kabila. Alam mo itong human rights, nandoon ‘yan talaga sila sa kabila (they say we are for the other group. You know these human rights groups, they are really for the other side),” he said.

“If the task forrce would decide to make it mandatory, ah mamili kayo (you choose),” Duterte said.

Usually, the IATF convenes and makes recommendations for pandemic response or mitigation. These recommendations are then approved by the President.

“Pero ‘yung ayaw magpabakuna, madali lang man ‘yan, mamili ka: matagal kang mabuhay o gusto mo nang mamatay? Diyan sa dalawang ‘yan, ‘pag kumapit ‘yang COVID na ‘yan, hindi pa natin alam itong Omicron, patay na. Mamili kayo (Those who do not want to get vaccinated, you have an easy choice to make: a longer life or death? Of those two choices, if COVID infects you, and we don’t even know about Omicron yet, you’re dead. So chose): early demise or live longer?” Duterte said.

While the President has repeatedly said that he respected people’s rejection of COVID-19 jabs due to religion or deep personal reasons, he has always sided with establishments or institutions that prefer vaccinated over unvaccinated persons.

These include private companies and establishments like restaurants.

“It’s actually to protect public — public, public health. The ministerial functions of government are: government can issue measures that would protect public health, public safety, public order, it’s in the police state, naka-ano ‘yan sa category (it’s under the category of) police state…Now under the police power of the state, I can compel you,” explained Duterte, who is a lawyer.

“Now, there is no guarantee that you will not get contaminated again, that has been said several times [and] impressed upon us by the medical experts na mahawa ka ulit (that you will get infected again). So ang ganoon, lalo na — maski na sa’yo ang bakunado ‘yang pamilya mo, eh kung t****** ka talaga, dalhin mo ulit (if that is the case, even if your family is vaccinated, but you’re really a [expletive] and you’ll carry the virus again), still you put in jeopardy the entire family or entire office,” he said.