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Palace: Duterte warning vs. unvaccinated not to blame over people crowding COVID-19 vaccination sites

President Rodrigo Duterte is not to blame over people swarming COVID-19 vaccination centers in Metro Manila on Thursday even if he earlier said the police and barangay officials should keep unvaccinated people at home, Malacañang said.

Roque was asked if the statement of the President was a factor in the decision of the public to get vaccinated a day before Metro Manila undergoes under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) or lockdown which only allows essential trips and services to operate.

Long queues were reported in various COVID-19 vaccination sites in Metro Manila.

The President’s comment went: "Itong ayaw magbakuna, sinasabi ko sa inyo, 'wag kayong lumabas ng bahay kasi 'pag lumabas kayo, sabihin ko sa mga pulis na ibalik kayo sa bahay ninyo because you are a walking spreader.”

(These people who don't want to get vaccinated, I'm telling you, don't bother going out because if you do go out, I'll tell the police to bring you back to your homes because you are walking spreaders.)

“I don’t think so [that the President’s comments had to do with it]. Mayroon talagang nagpapakalat ng fake news...Ewan ko ba bakit hindi pa sila ma-COVID, pero, anyway, ‘wag kayo maniwala sa fake news (There are really those who are out to peddle fake news. I don't know why they haven't got COVID yet, anyway, don't believe in fake news),” Roque said.

“Wala pong katotohanan na kapag walang bakuna ay hindi makakakuha ng ayuda at hindi makakalabas ng bahay (It is not true that you will not be able to receive cash aid and go outside if you are unvaccinated)," he added.

Roque was referring to cash aid that will be given to low income families worth P1,000 to P4,000 per family provided they are residing in ECQ areas.

Ultimately, he maintained that the President did not prevent unvaccinated people from going outside their houses.

“Walang ipinagbabawal [na lumabas] na iniimpose sa mga taong wala pang bakuna. Ang hinihingi lang natin, magpabakuna na (The President is not restricting unvaccinated individuals. The government is just calling on the public to get vaccinated),” he added.

At least 10 million Filipinos are already fully vaccinated against COVID-19 based on government data.

The Philippine government is eyeing to vaccinate 76.3 million by the end of the year to achieve herd immunity against COVID-19.—AOL, GMA News