MANILA – Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar on Wednesday belied rumors that President Rodrigo Duterte’s mass immunization drive against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) was meant to depopulate the Philippines.
Andanar issued the clarification following a viral social media post claiming that Duterte is depopulating the country through Covid-19 vaccines.
“There is no truth to circulating social media posts that the Covid-19 vaccines are being used by the Duterte administration to ‘depopulate’ the Philippines,” he said.
Andanar lamented that detractors are propagating lies against Duterte and his administration amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
He also dismissed as “laughably ludicrous and reeks of nutty conspiracy theory” the claim that the government has a sinister plot to depopulate the country.
“We ask the public not to believe these posts and use sound judgment when encountering other similar false information,” Andanar said.
Contrary to critics’ claim, Andanar said the current administration is exhausting all efforts to protect the public against Covid-19.
Andanar said the government is encouraging Filipinos to get inoculated to achieve population protection.
“Our government has been working hard to achieve population protection through our national Covid-19 vaccination program so that we can protect everyone against the virus and minimize mortality by developing an immune response to it,” he said.
Andanar told the public to ignore false information on Covid-19 vaccines, reminding them that these are proven safe and effective.
“Such an attempt to misinform the Filipino public and induce paranoia when factual scientific bases support the safety and efficacy of vaccines against Covid-19 is malicious and ill-natured, and should not be tolerated,” he said.
The PCOO has launched an information and communications campaign to boost the public’s confidence in Covid-19 vaccines.
As of August 2, a total of 21,210,129 Covid-19 vaccines have been administered nationwide.
Around 11,840,504 individuals have received the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine, while 9,369,625 others have been fully-vaccinated.
The Duterte government’s target is to vaccinate up to 70 percent of Filipinos to achieve population protection. (PNA)