President Duterte threatened dealers of fake COVID-19 vaccines in the Philippines.
On Monday night, President Rodrigo Duterte threatened individuals who would engage in the trade of fake COVID-19 vaccines in the Philippines.
In his weekly talk to the people, President Duterte made the remark after he ordered vaccines czar Secretary Carlito Galvez, Jr. to allow the private sector to import and procure COVID-19 vaccines “at will”.
“‘Wag ninyo akong pilitin baka pulutin talaga kayo kung saan-saan. I’m just warning you, ‘wag na ‘wag kayong magkamali dito. Hirap na ang Pilipino tapos dadagdagan mo ng ganitong pamamaraan na hanapbuhay. Pupulutin ka talaga kung saan, ‘di ako nagbibiro,” President Duterte said.
Last month, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) ordered the Philippine National Police (PNP) to arrest those people who were administering or selling fake COVID-19 vaccines in the country.
The private sector had earlier asked the national government to allow it to import and procure COVID-19 vaccines directly from accredited sources without conditions or restrictions.
To date, private companies were not allowed to procure COVID-19 vaccines on their own because Galvez explained that every COVID-19 vaccine currently in use in the country has only received an emergency use authorization (EUA) and not a commercial use authorization.
This means that the COVID-19 vaccine manufacturer won’t shoulder indemnification costs for any adverse effects experienced by COVID-19 vaccine recipients.
Last February, President Duterte signed the COVID-19 Vaccination Program Act of 2021, which allocated PHP 500 million indemnification fund in order to compensate the COVID-19 vaccinees who may experience serious adverse effects or die after vaccination.
However, President Duterte earlier said that the national government can’t be held responsible for any adverse effects that may occur from the COVID-19 vaccines procured by the private sector.
The national government had started its vaccination program with healthcare workers last March 1.
Meanwhile, some local government units in the country started vaccinating senior citizens (A2 category) and those with certain comorbidities (A3 category).