Duterte: Govt can use police power to compel vaccination

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 28) — President Rodrigo Duterte said on Monday that the government can use its police power to compel citizens to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

In his pre-recorded speech, Duterte said this would specifically apply to Filipinos living in areas which has already received enough vaccine supply.

“I do not want to advance this theory, but under the police power of the state, everybody can be compelled to be vaccinated," he said.

The president added that it’s not because the government rejects their beliefs or religion, but because of the pandemic all infected persons “are a carrier and a danger to society.”

Duterte pointed out that normally, there is a separation between church and state but given the current threat of contracting COVID-19, police power may be needed to force more people to get inoculated.

Itong police power of the state na hahawain mo kapwa tao mo, patayin mo [This police power of the state can be implemented if you pose a threat to other people] and maybe it would affect a large number of our people, then you are already a danger to society and therefore I said, contrary to the belief or opinion of others… I can compel you under the police power of the state,” he explained.

The chief executive then warned government workers: get vaccinated against COVID-19 or leave public service.

"Sa gobyerno, ayaw mong pabakuna, umalis ka. Go out of government, why? Because when you are with government you are, you face people," Duterte said during his address on Monday night.

[Translation: Get out of government if you do not want to get vaccinated. Go out of government, why? Because when you are with government you are, you face people.]

Duterte said that while he recognizes differences in personal beliefs when it comes to vaccines, it becomes "completely irrelevant" when considering public health and safety.

“If everybody does not comply with the vaccines, and we can have a... wildfire spread, then the police must go in and intervene in your private life so that you cannot be a danger to society,” he added.

Earlier, the President threatened to arrest Filipinos who refuse to get immunized against COVID-19. He also told unvaccinated individuals to avoid going out, even directing local officials to escort the “spreaders” back to their homes.

In the same address, Duterte said more than 20.3 million Filipinos, or 26% of the country's eligible population, have been fully vaccinated.