At the end of the last night’s weekly late-night broadcast of President Rodrigo Duterte’s Talk to the Nation address, the country’s commander in chief went on one of his signature rants—this time against people who refuse to get vaccinated.
As Duterte was wrapping up and thanking the health experts for their presentations, he veered off to address the issue of vaccine hesitancy among Filipinos, in trademark Duterte fashion:
“[I]tong mga gago na ayaw magbakuna, they are really the carriers…They travel from one place to another carrying the virus, and contaminating other people. Ayaw magbakuna eh, pabakuna ko yung bakuna para sa baboy, yung Ivermectin. Iyun yung ibakuna ko sa kanila. Tigas ng ulo eh. Don’t get me wrong, there is a crisis being faced in this country. There is a national emergency. Kung ayaw mong magpabakuna, ipaaresto kita. At ang bakuna, itusok ko sa pwet mo, p*****ina. Bwisit kayo.”
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Duterte went on to say that, while no one likes the ‘strong-arm’ method that he himself has an affinity for, people who don’t want to get vaccinated should leave the Philippines:
“Lahat ng Filipino nakikinig ngayon, magbantay kayo. Don’t force my hand into it. Strongarm method ‘yan eh, walang may gusto niyan. Pero kung hindi kayo magpabakuna, umalis kayo sa Pilipinas. Go to India or somewhere, go to America. But for as long as you are here, as long as you are a human being and can carry the virus, magpabakuna ka.”
Duterte then repeated that he will order officials to make a list of people who refuse to get the vaccine, and force them to receive shots of the anti-parasitic drug Ivermectin: “Otherwise I will have all the barangay captains to have a tally of the people who refuse to be vaccinated. Eh kasi kung hindi, yung Ivermectin na para sa baboy ipatira ko sa yo. Ayun patay talaga, pati ikaw.”
Was he kidding? The president went back and forth about his seriousness on the matter. “I am not…I am just exasperated by Filipinos not heeding the government,” he said, following up by again saying that he would have people arrested for refusing vaccines: “So that 40 percent, I will task the DILG to do that, to look for these persons. Kung hindi, I will order their arrest, sa totoo lang.”
Duterte also said, “Mamili kayo, magpabakuna kayo o magpakulong kayo sa selda…Ganito na lang, I will think it over very hard. Legally of course. Pero pag ayaw ninyo, paaresto ko kayo.”
Translated: “Choose, get vaccinated or get locked up in a cell…How about this: I will think it over very hard. Legally of course. But if you don’t want [a vaccine] I will have you arrested.”
TL;DR: He’s just kidding. Maybe.