MANILA, Philippines – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered local government officials to make sure unvaccinated persons don’t leave their homes except for essential activities.
Acting Presidential Spokesperson and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles confirmed that Duterte’s remarks on Thursday, January 6, are orders that will be enforced nationwide, regardless of the alert levels over an area.
“It appears, in the President’s declaration last night, that the order is nationwide, and if we listen to the President, the instructions are for the barangay to appeal to unvaccinated residents,” said Nograles on Friday during a press briefing.
Duterte’s exact words on Thursday were: “I’m now giving orders to the barangay captain to look for those persons who are not vaccinated and just would request them or order them, if you may, to stay put.”
If an unvaccinated person refuses to heed the new rules, Duterte says local officials can “arrest” the person. Barangay captains can even tap civilians to enforce this stay-at-home order.
“The barangay captain can also mobilize civilians and adopt them, give them the task officially, probably written and that converts their status from being a civilian… They now become agents of a person in authority,” said Duterte.
More localities restrict movement of unvaccinated
The presidential directive comes after Metro Manila mayors decided to restrict unvaccinated persons from leaving their homes except to get food, go to work, or get urgent medical care. National pandemic task force officials have also recommended that this Metro Manila policy be expanded nationwide.
Some local governments in other parts of Luzon have begun restricting the movement of unvaccinated individuals.
It was back in July when Duterte spoke about arresting unvaccinated people who insist on leaving their homes. The threat was criticized by the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers, who said the remark was another “jab at liberties.” At the time, however, only 6.2% of the population was fully-vaccinated. Today, that figure has grown to 45%. – Rappler.com