MANILA – President Rodrigo R. Duterte has condemned the illegal sale of vaccines against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), which happened just a few weeks after vaccination slots were being sold in Mandaluyong City.
The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) earlier announced that three individuals, including a nurse, were arrested for the alleged sale of 300 doses of the Sinovac vaccine on July 2.
“This is very alarming. We condemn these acts, and we will not allow perpetrators to go unpunished. I order every relevant authority to investigate this matter thoroughly and press charges accordingly,” Duterte said in a pre-recorded public address aired early Wednesday.
He warned against engaging in the illegal sale of Covid-19 vaccines, noting that he was “extra sensitive” to matters that involve the health and safety of Filipinos.
“Huwag na huwag ninyo (gawin ‘yan) kasi extra sensitive ako diyan, lalo na – lahat alam ‘yan – lalo na ‘yong para sa mga tao sa lahat. Ilang porsyento lang dito ang mayaman, lahat ‘yan puro mahirap (Don’t do that because I’m extra sensitive about matters like that. Everyone knows it. Especially because it’s supposed to be for everyone. Only a small percent of the population is rich, most of them are poor),” the President said.
He explained that Covid-19 vaccines are not yet allowed to be sold because they are currently not available for commercial use.
“You are not allowed to buy. The government will take care of that. Maski kayong mga ano, mahirapan kayo (You’ll have difficulty doing it). So do not press your luck too far. You might regret it. Warning ko lang sa inyo ‘yan (That is my warning to you),” he said.
Duterte said rich or poor, everyone should be given free Covid-19 jabs.
“Again, let me reiterate to everyone: The Covid-19 vaccines given by the government are not for sale. They are given to our poor people for free. Not only to the poor but to the rich so they opt to have vaccinations in the vaccination centers,” he said.
Reports showed that Alexis de Guzman, a nurse in Gat Andres Bonifacio Memorial Medical Center in Manila, was arrested in an entrapment operation in Quezon City.
De Guzman was nabbed along with Calvin Yeung Roca, a Filipino-Chinese, and Kour Singh.
Chinese workers were among the clients of the suspects, according to the NBI.
As of Tuesday, the Philippines has administered 12 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines, according to Vince Dizon, deputy chief implementer of the National Task Force Against Covid-19.
The government aims to achieve population protection by yearend by vaccinating 40 percent to 50 percent of the population, especially in priority areas. (PNA)