News Release

NPAs could get COVID-19 vaccine shot, says President Duterte

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte talks to the people after holding a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) core members at the Malago Clubhouse in Malacañang on July 30, 2020. ROBINSON NIÑAL JR./PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

Communist insurgents fighting the government can avail of the government’s free mass immunization against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as long as they temporary halt their offensive against the military and the police, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte said on Friday.

As different countries rush to develop a vaccine against COVID-19, President Duterte said the country will be “back to normal” by December. China, he said, has promised to prioritize the Philippines for the supply of vaccine against the coronavirus.

The free mass vaccination will be handled by the military, he said, with the low-income families being immunized first.

“Pati ‘yung the question is: ‘yung mga NPA, pabakunahan ko ba? If you stop fighting for a while during the period, or until December kasi my soldiers would be busy monitoring, supervising, huwag lang ninyong galawin, puwede kayong sumali, pumila doon,” he said.

“And even if you announce that you are an NPA, it’s okay.”

The government will do it for humanitarian reasons, the President said, stressing the rebels are also Filipinos.

Hatred should be forgotten in the meantime as the country struggles to contain the current pandemic, he noted.

“You might not really qualify sometimes but you know, you have a wife, Filipino children. So let’s put one thing at a time. Hindi natin pagsabayin ‘yung hatred, ganun. Huwag lang ninyo galawin ang military. Huwag ninyong galawin ang sundalo ko. Wala kayong ma-ano sa akin,” he warned the rebels.

While he would allow the insurgents to benefit from the government’s mass immunization, the President clarified that it should not be viewed as a unilateral ceasefire.

“I’m just telling you, stop it, just stop it and allow the normal process of helping the country go ahead,” he said. PND