President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Monday, February 8, appealed to communist insurgents not to hamper COVID-19 vaccine deliveries particularly in the far-flung areas, as the country gears towards mass vaccination campaign against the coronavirus.
“I am appealing to the Communist Party of the Philippines, ‘yung pinaka-umbrella, I don’t consider ‘yung mga NDF-NDF pati NPA. The Communist Party of the Philippines must guarantee that the vaccines in the course of their — being transported to areas where [there] are no city health officers or medical persons na huwag ninyong galawin ang medisina,” the President said during his televised public address.
“As I have said, the money belongs to the Filipino people. The credit goes to no one. Sa inyo ito mga taong Pilipino, pera ninyo ito,” he said. “So natural lang na kayong mga members ng Communist Party of the Philippines and the allied, NPA, NDF or whatever, kindly observe the rules of humanity.”
The President has expressed concern that the rebels might sabotage the government vaccination campaign similar to what they did when the government distributed relief goods and cash assistance during the lockdowns last year.
“Baka maulit kagaya itong mga pera, ‘yung mga Pantawid na pag-deliver ini-intercept ninyo,” he said.
Meanwhile, President Duterte warned all government employees not hinder the smooth flow of COVID-19 vaccine deliveries as the country expects the first batch this month.
People not involved in the transport and storage of COVID-19 vaccines should not interfere in the work of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), the authorized body facilitating vaccine deliveries and use, the President said.
The President particularly mentioned the Bureau of Customs (BOC), saying, “Well, of course, maybe you — ang trabaho lang ninyo Customs is magtingin. You have no business na buksan-buksan ‘yan diyan. You are not allowed to do that. I am not allowing you anybody — anybody there sa airport na magbukas-bukas.”
“Then ‘yung loading, the transport, you might want General Galvez, I’m answering you diyan so that you would have find it easy, really — to itong mga the police, the PNP should provide escorts that would ensure the — the fastest way of — for the vaccines to arrive in their storage.”
The IATF has already made an assessment of the preparations being done by local government units (LGUs) in the country.
LGUs in Metro Manila have been doing simulations and rehearsals of their vaccination programs to efficiently administer the vaccines once they arrive in their localities.
The government aims to vaccinate about 70 million Filipinos this year. It expects to receive 5.6 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines in the first quarter of 2021.
Some 117,000 doses of vaccines, manufactured by America’s Pfizer Inc., will be delivered to the Philippines this month. The initial supply of vaccines was arranged through the COVAX facility. PND