‘Unvaxxed must not be punished’, says Robredo; proposes incentives

Instead of scaring the unvaccinated with “punitive” measures, presidential aspirant Vice President Leni Robredo on Sunday, Jan. 9, wants the government to incentivize them in a bid to encourage more vaccinations.

Vice President Leni Robredo speaks during her Sunday radio show on Jan. 9, 2022. (BISErbisyong Leni/Facebook)

Robredo said during her weekly radio show, “BISErbisyong Leni,” over dzXL that being unvaccinated is not a crime.

“Pero babalik ako doon sa dati kong paniniwala na kailangan nagbibigay tayo ng incentive para magpabakuna iyong mga tao. Dapat iyong pag-incentivize sa mga tao para magpabakuna dapat tuloy-tuloy iyon (But I’m going back to my belief that we need to give incentives so people will get vaccinated. To incentivize the people to get vaccinated should be continuous),” she added.

The Vice President stressed the government should not resort to “punitive” measures against the unvaccinated.

“Kapag hindi ka nagpabakuna, huhulihin ka. Kapag hindi ka nagpabakuna, ganito. Mas mabuti sana mas positive, na pag nagpabakuna ka, ito yung mae-enjoy mo na (If you don’t get vaccinated, you will be arrested. If you don’t get vaccinated, this will happen to you. It would be better if it’s more positive, that when you get vaccinated, you can enjoy these) privileges,” Robredo explained.

The strategy should be “positive reinforcement.”

Her remarks came after President Duterte ordered barangay officials to restrict the movement of the unvaccinated.

READ: Duterte orders barangay chiefs to restrict movement of unvaxxed Pinoys

They are also unwelcome in some commercial establishments, to which Robredo agreed because it is the right of these establishments to refuse entry to unvaccinated individuals.

She lamented that when the daily COVID-19 cases dropped from November to December, the government became complacent in encouraging people to get their vaccines.

This is despite having more supplies of the COVID-19 vaccine.

She highlighted the need to be “creative” in reaching out to people for them to get vaccinated, citing the Aeta communities in Capas, Tarlac that the Office of the Vice President’s (OVP) Vaccine Express was able to encourage to get vaccinated.

Robredo’s Vaccine Express, which intends to augment the capacities of local government units (LGUs) in vaccinating its people, offers different incentives such as five kilos of rice and P500 gas coupons.

READ: Robredo brings back free mobile antigen testing as COVID-19 cases surge

To date, the Philippines has 50,627,196 fully vaccinated individuals. Some 2,207,941 individuals have also been given their booster shots.

On Saturday, Jan. 8, the country logged 26,458 cases, a new record-high. Experts believed this to be the effect of the highly transmissible Omicron variant, as well as lax measures during the holiday season.