MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte directed Monday the National Task Force (NTF) against Covid-19 to ensure the protection of people who are availing of the vaccines.
In his sixth and final State of the Nation Address (SONA), Duterte directed the task force to address the challenges at vaccination sites, including long queues and making people wait for hours to get inoculated.
“I thus call on the National Task Force Against Covid-19 to see to it that this happens — I mean the protection,” Duterte said. “The Filipino does not deserve it even if they are not paying taxes. Because the theory of government is that all money belongs to the people and the money is there, it belongs to all of us and it should be used for public good.”
Duterte said it pains him to see Filipinos struggling just to get vaccinated against Covid-19.
He said the government should look for ways to ensure the smooth conduct of its Covid-19 vaccination drive.
He suggested giving cards to people going to vaccination centers and use spacious facilities like gymnasiums and schools to address long queues.
“Why do you have to do it to the Filipino? You can always, you know, maghanap ka ng (look for [ways]),” Duterte said. “We have spent enormous amounts of resources to build our capacities to overcome this pandemic. We cannot afford more lockdowns lest our economy bleeds to the point of irreversible damage.”
Duterte gave the fresh directive, as he raised worry over the presence of the Delta variant which is “far more aggressive and far more dangerous” than the original variant.
The national government’s Covid-19 vaccination campaign took the spotlight in the government’s strategies to contain the pandemic that hit the country in March last year.
In a pre-recorded Talk to the People on Saturday night, Duterte ordered the local government units to come up with a “more sane” process of vaccination by providing a safe and dry vaccination site for Filipinos.
The government aims to achieve population protection by vaccinating 70 percent of the country’s population by the end of the year.
The Philippines has so far received a total of 31,360,700 doses of Covid-19 vaccines since February this year.
Around 11,113,107 individuals have already received their first dose, while some 6,089,314 have already been fully vaccinated, as of July 25. (PNA)