President Rodrigo Duterte said he might approve making COVID-19 vaccination mandatory if the Inter-Agency Task Force recommends it amid the threat of the new Omicron COVID-19 variant.
“I may agree with the task force if they decide to make it mandatory (vaccination). It’s for public health. Now, kung ayaw mo, ‘wag kang lumabas,” Duterte said in his weekly Talk to the People.
“It’s actually to protect public health… In some countries mandatory na, dito maingay ang human rights,” he added.
The president added he could force Filipinos to get vaccinated “under the police power of the state.”
Meanwhile, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año recommended the implementation of strict vaccination protocols.
“Hindi natin ima-mandatory but at least, we’ll make it harder for them to live while there’s a pandemic. It’s because of mutations, kung hindi ma-achieve ang herd immunity,” Año said.
Año said several local government units have already made COVID-19 vaccination mandatory.
“Actually, we are encouraging them. Number one is Mayor Chavit Singson, nag-announce siya sa bayan niya hindi na welcome ang mga unvaccinated… diyan lang sa bahay unless mayroong negative RT-PCR,” he said.
Duterte might approve mandatory COVID-19 vaccination
Under Section 16 of the Local Government Code, a local chief executive could impose an ordinance to protect its people, and that “is considered legal unless stopped by the court.”
“So habang may pandemic, ‘yon pong sa mga labor, talagang dinesign natin ‘yang policy na ‘yan para mapilitan magpa-vaccine mga laborers,” he said.
“Kung sagutin natin puro RT-PCR lang, parang walang effect ang policy natin, parang namihasa lang po sila,” he added.
Meanwhile, Duterte said he wanted to shoot dead the Omicron variant.
“Ako, gusto kong patayin ‘yan kaya lang hindi ko malaman kung saan ko… Gusto kong barilin ang buang na yan,” he said.
According to Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, the entry of the new Omicron variant to the Philippines is “not a matter of if, but a matter of when.”
Duque said Omicron is also expected to enter the country, so strategies against it must be intensified.