Duterte: LGUs need to impose age restrictions at malls

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 16 2021 12:25 AM

A child is pictured at a grocery store in Quezon City on November 14, 2021 as Alert Level 2 is declared in Metro Manila allowing minors in certain establishments. Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News
A child is pictured at a grocery store in Quezon City on November 14, 2021 as Alert Level 2 is declared in Metro Manila allowing minors in certain establishments. Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News

MANILA—President Rodrigo Duterte urged local government officials to impose restrictions on unvaccinated minors in public areas to protect them from being infected by COVID-19.

According to Duterte, parents should not take their younger children to the malls and other public areas.

"Alam ko ang mga magulang gustong gusto na ninyong ipasyal ang mga anak ninyo at hindi pa bakunado," he said in a taped briefing late Monday.

(I know you really want to take your children to the mall even though they are unvaccinated.)

"Do not expose them to the virus. Wala pa silang depensa. They have no defense mechanism in their system . . . Hindi katulad ng mga bakunado na."

(Do not expose them to the virus. They cannot defend themselves from the virus yet. They have no defense mechanism in their system, unlike those who are already vaccinated.)

Duterte was reacting to a report that a 2-year-old child tested positive for COVID-19 after going to the mall.

"On this note, I am calling all local government units to consider passing ordinances for age restrictions among minors who can be allowed to go to the malls," he said.

"Certainly, we cannot allow those below 12 years old or those who are still unvaccinated to be exposed to the risk of getting COVID-19 in public places.

"Again to the parents and guardians of minors who are unvaccinated, please be mindful of the risks. Part of caring for them is thinking about their safety."

The Department of Health earlier said the case of the 2-year-old was isolated, and should not be interpreted as a need to restrict children from going outside. 

It, however, clarified that local government units have the authority to resort to restrictions.

The DOH does not require masks in the said age range, because masks could restrict air flow and breathing. Children of this age may not yet be able to communicate that they have a hard time breathing. 

The Philippines has started the vaccination of minors aged 12 to 17 this month.