Duterte: Communities in Mindanao resist COVID-19 vaccination

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 25) — President Rodrigo Duterte said some communities in Mindanao are resisting COVID-19 vaccination.

“I think the Muslim community dito sa Pilipinas, mukhang ang karamihan, is of the belief that it (vaccination) is not allowed by their, I don’t know, is it religion?” he said during his weekly address aired Monday night.

[Translation: I think the Muslim community here in the Philippines, and the majority, is of the belief that vaccination is not allowed by their, I don’t know, is it religion?]

“I might be mistaken but it could be that or something else sa culture nila (in their culture)… even the Tausug,” he added.

Duterte commented on the issue after watching a report that several passengers going to Zamboanga City were stranded at the Manila North Harbor due to the government’s no vaccination, no ride policy.

The President also said he already talked with Sulu Governor Sakur Tan, a Tausug, about the matter.

Among the country’s regions, the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao currently has the lowest vaccination rate. Only 25% of its population or 769,604 individuals are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said the stranded passengers at the Manila North Harbor were already allowed to travel back home on Monday after they tested negative for COVID-19.

To prevent a similar incident from happening, the Department of Transportation will put up vaccination sites in transportation hubs to inoculate more Filipinos, Tugade added.