President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday ordered officials of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) to make sure the COVID-19 vaccination rate in the region will pick up in the coming weeks.
In his weekly Talk to the People, Duterte said the BARMM was mandated to follow the instructions of the national government.
“You are part of the government. 'Yun ang ginusto ninyo – nag-postpone tayo ng election. So, you are bound by what the government will say,” Duterte said, addressing BARMM officials.
“I am ordering you as a matter of fact to really push people to take the vaccine because it protects everybody,” he added.
Duterte said vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez would go to the BARMM to discuss with regional officials how to increase the vaccination rate among its residents.
“Sabihin mo sa kanila, we honor the culture but when it comes to what we are doing to protect the entire nation, your reluctance or maybe lack of interest to be vaccinated, it is not in my book a valid reason na ayaw ninyo," Duterte said.
Duterte said vaccination against COVID-19 was "science."
"This has been proven to be true and correct. Wala itong sasabihin mo na may superstition,” Duterte said.
Galvez expressed alarm that only over 20% in BARMM have been inoculated against the coronavirus disease.
“Nakakabahala po kasi ganoon po nangyari sa Hong Kong kasi ‘yung kanilang mga tinatawag na senior citizens ay less than 30% ang bakunado," Galvez said.
"Kapag po nagkaroon ng surge mahihirapan ang BARMM in case sa kanila po tumama yung tinatawag natin pandemic,” he added.
(It is disturbing because that is what happened in Hong Kong because their senior citizens are less than 30% vaccinated. When there is a surge, it would be difficult for BARMM.) —NB, GMA News