MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday asked the Department of Health to look into reports that some private citizens who are not part of the COVID-19 priority list have already been vaccinated.
Duterte said the son of an actor has already been inoculated.
"I remember very well, admonishing everybody that the priority sa pagbigay ng bakuna ay ito ang masusunod. Wala pa ang COVAX. Ang akin lang, sabi ko, 'yung mga vulnerable, walang trabaho, 'yung mga may sakit at baka maagapan. So I made a list," he said.
(I remember very well, admonishing everybody that we should follow the priority list in giving the vaccine. That was before the agreement with COVAX. For me, I wanted to prioritize the vulnerable, those with no jobs, those who are sick, in case we can help protect them. So I made a list.)
"Hindi nasunod kasi ang balita ko, naibigay sa mga anak ng mga artista, at iba pa. The favored few always," Duterte added.
(This was not followed because I heard some were given to children of actors. The favored few always.)
Duterte said the violation happened in Parañaque City.
"I understand the psyche of the Filipino. Halika nga dito, sumingit ka diyan. 'Yan 'yung style ng Filipino. Ang problema, dito pa lang tayo sa first group, 1.7 million yan sila," he said.
(I understand the psyche of the Filipino. Come here, cut in line. That's the Filipino style. But the problem is, we are still inoculating those in the first group, and there are 1.7 million of them.)
"Anak ito ng artista, kayo na ang bahalang mag-imbestiga nito," Duterte added, addressing Health Secretary Francisco Duque.
(He is an actor's child. It's up to you to investigate.)
Parañaque City Mayor Edwin Olivarez earlier admitted that actor Mark Anthony Fernandez has already been vaccinated.
According to Olivarez, Fernandez has "comorbidities" that made him eligible to be prioritized for COVID-19 vaccination next to medical frontliners and senior citizens.
Aside from Fernandez, at least 9 mayors have also been inoculated despite not being part of the priority list.
Medical frontliners should be the only group to get COVID-19 shots for now, Palace spokesman Harry Roque earlier said.
Violations of this rule would impact future deliveries from vaccine-sharing COVAX Facility, which said health workers should be prioritized, he said.