President Rodrigo Duterte still wants to be the first to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in the Philippines if doing such could increase the public’s confidence in getting the vaccine, Malacañang said Monday.
“Kung sa tingin niya (President Duterte) ay natatakot ang mga tao sa bakuna ay hindi naman po siya mag-aatubili na mauna,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said on Unang Balita.
(If he (President Duterte) thinks that people are afraid of the vaccine, he will not hesitate to go first.)
The Palace official was responding to Vice President Leni Robredo‘s statement that Duterte should be the first to get a vaccine against the virus to alleviate the public’s fear of getting the vaccine.
“Basta ang sa kaniya, interes ng taumbayan bago ang interes ng mga nakaupo (For him, the interest of the public should come first before officials),” Roque said.
Last week, Duterte said he no longer plans to be the first one to get vaccinated against COVID-19 once the vaccines arrive in the country.
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According to the President, front liners and important workers in the country are still a priority.
“Ang mga frontline na health workers; mauna ang teachers at social workers and other government workers; and three, essential workers outside health, education, social welfare, for example, agriculture, food, tourism and ‘yung may contact talaga sa tao; then the socio-demographic groups at tingnan natin kung sino ang mauna sa kanila. Then there are the overseas Filipino workers; all remaining workers; other remaining workers; then, all remaining citizens,” he said.
The soldiers and police are said to be only in the fifth priority of vaccination and after them, the President is next in line.
“Mga sundalo natin, kasama kayo sa mga priority. Pero mauna talaga ‘yung mga pobre, ‘yung wala talaga, tapos kayo,” said Duterte.
However, Roque said the President can take back his previous pronouncement.
“Pero kung imporante po yan (una sa bakuna) talaga para magkaroon ng kumpiyansa ang taumbayan, iniisip ko naman po hindi imposible yan dahil minsan na rin yang sinabi ng Presidente,” he said.