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AFP says PSG soldiers first to get COVID-19 vaccines

Soldiers who are part of the Presidential Security Group (PSG) were the first ones who got vaccinated against COVID-19, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson Major General Edgard Arevalo said Monday.

"Per our inquiry, members of the Presidential Security Group were the first ones from the AFP who were vaccinated owing to the nature of their mission and function," Arevalo said in a press statement.

"As the unit primarily tasked to protect and secure the highest official of the land, the PSG will have to ensure that the President is safe from all threats—including COVID-19," he added.

Arevalo issued the statement days after President Rodrigo Duterte bared that some soldiers have already vaccinated against the virus that already killed over 9,000 in the Philippines.

This, despite the fact that the Philippine Food and Drug Administration has yet to approve any COVID-19 vaccine. The FDA earlier warned that the use of unregistered vaccine could be unsafe.

According to Duterte, the soldiers were inoculated with the vaccine from Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinopharm.

Arevalo said the safety of the President was important to the national well-being.

"Therefore the highest official of the country should be protected from the deadly virus," Arevalo said.

"That security posture should necessarily include protecting the Commander-in-Chief from contracting the deadly virus from those he is constantly exposed to like the members of his security detail," he said.

The AFP spokesman said he was not privy on the arrangements of the PSG personnel's vaccination.

"But we have taken cognizance of the fact that the members of the PSG under Brigadier General Jesus Durante has taken a bold step to try the vaccine to protect the President," Arevalo said.

Aside from PSG personnel, some Cabinet members have already received the COVID-19 vaccine, according to Interior Secretary Eduardo Año in a radio interview earlier in the day. He did not elaborate. —KBK/NB, GMA News