Duterte orders BARMM officials: Push constituents to get vaccinated vs Covid-19

A visibly concerned President Duterte ordered officials of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) to convince their constituents to get vaccinated against Covid-19 in fear of a possible resurgence of coronavirus infections in the country.

President Duterte (RTVM Screenshot)

Duterte made the order following reports of a low turnout of vaccination in BARMM, causing leaders of the Inter-agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases to go there themselves and talk to BARMM officials.

In his "Talk to the People" on Holy Monday, April 11, the President said that BARMM officials should follow what the Executive Department says because they are still part of the government.

"BARMM officials, nasa gobyerno kayo (you are in government), you opted to be active still until the next election... Ginusto ninyo 'yan, sumunod kayo (You asked for it so you should follow)," he said.

"I'm asking you-- I'm ordering you, as a matter of fact, to really push the people to take the vaccine because it protects everybody," he added.

According to the President, getting vaccinated against Covid-19 has nothing to do with Muslim faith, beliefs, culture, or tradition.

"This is science. It has nothing to do with paniwala mo (your beliefs). This has been proven to be true and correct," he said.

"We honor the culture, but when it comes to what we are doing to protect the entire nation, your reluctance-- or your maybe lack of interest to get vaccinated-- it is not, in my book, a valid reason na ayaw ninyo (for you not to get vaccinated)," he added.

Duterte assured BARMM residents the Covid-19 vaccines are safe and effective.

"It's science. It has been studied, and experiments were conducted hindi lang dito sa atin pati sa labas (both in and out of the country)," he said.

The President added that the country would not overcome the ongoing crisis if not everyone got vaccinated.

"Let me just appeal to everybody - get vaccinated, or else we will not be able to solve the problem," he said.