With the Christmas rush just around the corner, President Rodrigo Duterte urged Filipinos to take advantage of the upcoming national vaccination days set November 29 to December 1 to better protect themselves against the coronavirus.
In his pre-recorded address aired late Tuesday night, November 23, Duterte said “everyone” must be vaccinated against COVID-19.
He even went as far as saying that those who refuse to get their COVID-19 jabs should be denied entry to commercial establishments.
“Kailangan talaga lahat mabakunahan. Ang mga ayaw (Everyone must be vaccinated. Those who refuse), they should not be allowed inside public restaurants or resorts because they are a threat to public health and the safety of the general public,” the President said.
On Wednesday, November 24, Duterte signed Proclamation No. 1253 declaring November 29 to December 1 as Bayanihan, Bakunahan National COVID-19 Vaccination Days.
Any employee or worker, both in the government and private sector, who gets vaccinated on those days will not be considered absent from work provided that they show proof of vaccination.
The Philippines is currently at low risk for COVID-19, with the number of new infections in majority of island groups plateauing at mere hundreds every day.
But the Department of Health’s COVID-19 projections showed active cases in the country could spike to two to three times higher by end of the year, especially if mobility is increased further and if residents become more lax in following health protocols like wearing face masks in public.
To help boost the three-day “Bayanihan, Bakunahan” drive, Duterte instructed governors and mayors to do all that they can to bring in more people to the vaccination sites, with assistance from the police and the military.
During the wide-scale COVID-19 immunization push, which includes the non-working Bonifacio Day holiday, public schools, gymnasiums, fast food chains, malls, and even workplaces will be turned into vaccination sites.
The President encouraged local officials to entice residents to get their COVID-19 shots by offering them free meals from participating fast food restaurants like Jollibee and McDonald’s.
“I am authorizing all governors and mayors, gumastos na lang kayo ng pera… Pakainin ‘nyo na lang sila (Spend money… Just feed them). Just give me the bill and I will try to pay it if I have the money,” said Duterte.
The President earlier considered making vaccination against COVID-19 mandatory in the Philippines, but the proposal was met with criticisms regarding its constitutionality and its potential violations of Filipinos’ right to privacy. – with a report from Pia Ranada/Rappler.com