Duterte wants COVID-19 vaccine shots for families of troops

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 25 2021 04:20 PM

Duterte wants COVID-19 vaccine shots for families of troops 1
President Duterte walks past honor guards as he is accorded with foyer honors upon his arrival at Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo in Quezon City for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Change of Command Ceremony on April 18, 2018. Ace Morandante, Presidential Photo/File

MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte promised free COVID-19 vaccines to the families of security forces due to their "important" role in national security, Malacañang said on Monday. 

Uniformed personnel are fifth in the priority for the government's vaccination drive, next to health care workers, the elderly, the poor, and other frontliners. But Duterte, in a speech on Saturday, said vaccines will be distributed even to the troops' families.

"That's out of recognition on the part of the President na talagang importante po ang papel na ginagalawan o ginagampan ng ating mga men in uniform because theirs is the maintenance to peace and order in our society," said the President's spokesman Harry Roque. 

(The role that our men in uniform play is very important.)

The implementation of the priority listing will be up to the inter-agency task force (IATF) leading the country pandemic response, he told reporters in an online briefing.

When asked if this meant that troops' families would be the sixth vaccination priority, Roque said, "Hindi ko pa po sigurado." 

(I am not yet sure.)

"But as I said, I leave that to the IATF to operationalize," he said. 

"Executive power is well-defined under the constitution, and of course the IATF is advisory in nature, they recommend to the President. But the IATF decisions are in fact implemented because of the President's actions and pronouncements." 

The Philippines hopes to launch its inoculation drive in February and cover 70 million people within the year. 

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