MANILA, Philippines — Don’t even try to spread fake COVID-19 vaccines, President Rodrigo Duterte warned the private sector in a pre-recorded briefing that aired Monday night, even as he gave private firm the green light to import as many vials as they can.
President Rodrigo Duterte said in his Monday briefing that there would be a place for people who would do this amid the economic crisis that the COVID-19 pandemic caused.
“So, you in the private sector, this is just a warning: Don’t force me. Baka pupulutin talaga kayo kung saan [You might find yourself getting dumped and picked up somewhere]. I am not threatening you. The human rights [advocates] are listening. I’m referring to those buying fake vaccines, those importing from dubious sources,” he said, partly in Filipino.
“The people would have themselves vaccinated and avail of it even at high prices because it’s all that’s available. I’m just warning you: Just don’t make that mistake, especially now that Filipinos are really suffering and you add to their burden with this way of making money,” he added.
Earlier, Duterte instructed the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) to allow the private sector to procure their own vaccines, either for the purpose of immunizing their workers or for selling.
According to the president, a lot of businesses are planning to administer COVID-19 vaccines to their workers, because there are factories and assembly lines that had been undermanned due to lockdown restrictions or coronavirus transmissions
But Duterte warned again that using this new policy to take advantage by selling fake vaccines would land wrongdoers in a tight spot.
“It would land you somewhere. I’m not joking. You’ll have to be picked up where you get dumped. Don’t do it. Just fake candies and other stuff, but don’t touch the medicines. I’m warning you, I’m saying it again,“ he said in Filipino.
Another 1.2 million COVID-19 vaccine shots have arrived from Sinovac Biotech, which is part of the country’s procurement. However, Duterte clarified that this would be just enough to immunize medical frontliners fighting the pandemic.
READ: Health workers not on COVID-19 duty won’t be in vaccination priority list – Duterte
As of now, the government is counting on vaccines to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, especially with a recent upsurge in cases. On Monday, the Department of Health recorded 10,016 new cases.
This is a new record-high increase in new cases, raising the nationwide total to 115,495 active infections.
This surge in infections forced Duterte to place Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal under a single bubble under enhanced community quarantine.
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