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Duterte seeks free COVID-19 vaccinations for soldiers’ families

President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday said he would seek free coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccinations for servicemen's families.

In a speech to troops at the Kuta Heneral Teodulfo Bautista Headquarters in Jolo, Duterte said the poor would be the first to be vaccinated, followed by uniformed personnel.

“So ‘yung lahat sabi ko una ‘yung mga mahirap. Iyon talagang mga mahirap na isang tuka, isang kahig. Unahin ko ‘yon pati ‘yung uniformed service kasi eh kung paano kung magkasakit itong lahat,” he was quoted as saying in a statement.

Duterte has repeatedly said that state security forces would be among those who will first receive the COVID-19 vaccine once available.

“So ang sunod niyan is… mauna kayo. And if the Secretary Galvez would… sabihin ko sa kanya kasali na ‘yung pamilya ninyo. Magpunta ‘yung mag-inject sa mga kampo, tuturukan pati ‘yung mga anak ninyo,” he said.

“So ito lahat libre ito. Libre ‘to. So that you would depend… Para hindi kayo mag-worry kung nandiyan na na ano kayang mangyari. Eh, ano ito… this is a very vicious microbe,” he added.

Duterte later said that the government would always support servicemen and their families “no matter how hard things may get.”

“The year ahead will bring our military many opportunities and challenges. Just remember that no matter how hard things may get, your government will always be there to support your family and your— the families by ensuring their well-being above else,” he said.

Malacañang previously said that nearly 25 million Filipinos composed of frontline health workers, the poor and uniformed personnel will be among the first to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

In December 2020, members of the Presidential Security Group received a COVID-19 vaccine from Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinopharm even as it has yet to get approval from the Food and Drug Administration. — DVM, GMA News