News Release

President Duterte orders barangay captains to restrict unvaccinated people from going outdoors

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 Malacañan Palace on January 6, 2022. ROBINSON NIÑAL/ PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO
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 Malacañan Palace on January 6, 2022. ROBINSON NIÑAL/ PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

Amidst the growing threat of the COVID-19 Omicron variant, President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday, January 6, called on the barangay captains to limit the mobility of those who are not yet vaccinated and to advise them to stay at home.

“I’m now giving orders to the barangay captains to look for those persons who are not vaccinated and just would request them or order them, if you may, to stay put,” President Duterte said during his regular Talk to the People.

“If he refuses, he goes out of the house and goes around in the community or maybe wherever magpunta, he can be restrained.”

President Duterte gave the order as he responds to the spiking number of COVID-19 cases in the country just a few days after the New Year due to the new, fast-spreading Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

Being persons in authority, the barangay captains have the power to arrest “recalcitrant” persons if they are unvaccinated and refuse to be restrained or escorted to their homes, he argued.

At the same time, the chief executive said that village chiefs can also mobilize civilians to help them with the subjugation of people who haven’t received COVID-19 shot from leaving their homes and loitering outdoors.

“Give them the task officially probably written and that converts their status from being a civilian but also a person in authority called upon to assist the persons in authority,” he said. “They now become agents of a person in authority. That is my position.”

But the President clarified that he was issuing the order as part of his responsibility to ensure public safety and well-being.

The President pointed out, however, that unvaccinated people will not be immediately imprisoned, and persons in authority will have to talk to them about the dangers of leaving their homes.

“I hate to say this word pero — these words: being the President, ultimately I am responsible for the safety and well-being of every Filipino and that is why my orders are to restrain them,” he said.

“Hindi naman kaagad arestuhin. Paki-usap lang, eh sir hindi ka nagpabakuna then you put everybody in jeopardy. You go out, you get contaminated, dalhin mo. Ngayon, por pamilya, por bahay ang contamination.”

Meanwhile, President Duterte ordered the police to arrest and detain for investigation individuals involved in the illegal trade of COVID-19 drugs in the black market.

“I would insist for the police to arrest them and detain them for investigation. If it’s a serious offense, that will go about 34 hours of detention and in that time, you can investigate,” he said.

Nobody will be spared, the President said, stressing his order covers agents and sellers or sales representatives, and even owners of medical infrastructures.

“Sabihin nila even it’s a matter of violation, ‘wala kami, ‘yung aming mga staff lang.’ Do not give me that s***. Hulihin ninyo at ikulong ninyo,” he said.

Unregulated sale of COVID-19 drugs is a serious offense because it victimizes those who need the medicine but cannot afford to buy due to very steep price.

President Duterte also asked the Department of Justice (DOJ) to assign fiscals who could conduct summary investigation and inquest of those involved in the prohibited trade. He also wants the police to investigate their areas of responsibilities and to “solve the problem.” PND