Diokno opposes arrest threat vs unvaxxed, urges gov’t to address vax hesitancy

Opposition senatorial candidate Chel Diokno has objections to the threats by the government to arrest unvaccinated Filipinos, saying it should instead launch a massive information campaign to address vaccine hesitancy.

Human rights lawyer Chel Diokno (Photo from Diokno’s campaign team)

This will help the government to inoculate more people after reaching its initial COVID-19 vaccination target of 54 million or 70 percent of the country’s target population.

As of Thursday, Jan. 13, the government’s vaccination program has fully vaccinated 54.457 million individuals, while some 30 million remain unvaccinated.

“Simply appealing to the unvaccinated to get vaccinated won’t work. Neither will the threat to arrest them. What government must do is undertake a massive literacy and information campaign addressing the fake news and other reasons why they don’t want to get vaccinated,” Diokno said, following the government’s recent appeal to unvaccinated individuals to get jabbed.

READ: Target achieved at last! 54M Filipinos now fully-vaxxed vs COVID-19

The human rights lawyer lamented that many Filipinos still believe the fake news on COVID-19 vaccination, including allegations that the vaccine contains microchips or magnets.

He also insisted that the government should address other underlying reasons some Filipinos are hesitant to get inoculated, including prior experiences with other vaccines.

Diokno, who is running for the Senate for the second time, earlier committed to creating a science and technology-driven council that will replace the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases if he wins in May.

READ: IATF should be replaced with science-based council — Diokno

He has proposed the creation of a Pandemic Management Council (PMC) that is also envisioned to plan for and deal with future widespread outbreaks of contagious diseases.

The government has launched an intensified campaign to isolate unvaccinated Filipinos as the number of new COVID-19 cases daily grew to more than 37,000 on Friday, Jan. 14.

It has already prevented unvaccinated Filipinos from taking public transportation. The “no vaccination, no ride” policy will be fully implemented on Monday, Jan. 17.

READ: Gov't bans the unvaxxed from riding planes, other public transport to, within and from NCR

President Duterte has also ordered barangay officials to restrict the movement of the unvaccinated. They will also not be allowed inside commercial establishments.