By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
Negros Occidental’s provincial administrator, Atty. Rayfrando Diaz, said yesterday that the proposal being forwarded by President Rodrigo Duterte to exercise police powers in order to force the people to get the COVID-19 vaccine is currently uncalled for in the province.
According to Diaz, the supply of COVID-19 vaccines being received by the province is still too little, while demand is far greater.
“[At present] we don’t need to force it upon our residents here,” Diaz said.
Diaz said they will continue observing the directives set by Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson, wherein all vaccines received by the provincial government must be distributed within five days after their arrival.
He also said vaccination in the province is going well as planned and they currently don’t see any problem about hesitancy as majority of the Negrenses have now become completely aware that the vaccines are working as the current cases that are either being quarantined or admitted to the hospitals are unvaccinated.
“More and more people are beginning to realize that the vaccines really work, and they need it para indi sila mabutang sa alang-alang in the event nga maigo sila,” Diaz said.
On Monday night during his weekly “Talk to the People” Duterte said he may be compelled to use the government’s police power in order to get the country’s population to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
“You know I do not want to advance this theory, but under the police power of the state, everybody can be compelled to be vaccinated, not because we do not believe in your…belief or religion, but because you are a carrier and a danger to society,” Duterte said.
Lawyers, meanwhile, said a law must be enacted first before the government can exercise police power to force the public to get the vaccine.
Several countries such as the United States, Australia, Canada, France, Indonesia and Russia have already turned to vaccine mandates to increase coverage rates against COVID-19, while vaccination in the Philippines currently remains not mandatory for now./DGB, WDJ