Duterte tells voters: Get COVID-19 booster jabs before May 9 elections

Angelica Y. Yang - Philstar.com
Duterte tells voters: Get COVID-19 booster jabs before May 9 elections
President Rodrigo Duterte presides over a meeting with key government officials prior to his "Talk to the People" at the Malacañan Palace on May 2, 2022.
Presidential Photo / King Rodriguez

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte encouraged voters to get their COVID-19 booster shots ahead of the May 9 elections, where an estimated 67.5 million voters are expected to flock to polling precincts. 

"You know, 'yung booster shots ninyo (You know, your booster shots), it's still available at (and) anybody can have it, because it's election time. There will be a crowding again of people congregating and it would be good to have the booster shots before you go out and mix with the crowd," Duterte said during his recorded "Talk to the People" aired Tuesday. 

Getting inoculated with booster shots does not fully guarantee 100% protection against reinfection, especially for immunocompromised individuals, Duterte clarified.

"But if you are normal ka lang, hindi ka masakitin (But if your health is normal and you are not sickly), it can protect you and you can vote there without any- sans the worry about getting an infection again," he said.

The Philippine College of Physicians (PCP) supports the roll-out of booster immunizations against COVID-19, after noting the "waning immunity" of the primary series of COVID-19 vaccines and the possibility of new variants. 

According to PCP President Maricar Limpin, getting inoculated with booster jabs prevents someone from contracting a severe disease which lead to hospitalization and death.

Last month, the country's Food and Drug Administration authorized a second booster shot for senior citizens, immunocompromised individuals and frontline health workers. 

The Health department has said that the second booster dose should be administered at least four months after the first booster

Violence-free elections

Duterte vowed to Filipinos that the government will do everything in its power to ensure that the May 9 national and local elections will be violence-free. 

"My guarantee to the nation is that, it's not really that it will happen or it can happen but kami nga mga nag-ttrabaho sa gobyerno (those working in the government), sinasabi ko lang as president (I say this as president), I guarantee, akong guarantor ako (I am the guarantor), that we will do everything to ensure that the election is free from violence, and that people are not intimidated in any way to exercise their right to vote and to choose whoever," he said. 

He said that the entire government should be conscious of this goal, stressing that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police, should focus their efforts on the upcoming elections. 

Over 12,000 standby support forces are in place for the 2022 elections, according to PNP spokesperson Jean Fajardo. They are ready to be deployed in election areas of concern, if the need arises. 

"We want to assure our kababayan na nakahanda na po ang PNP katuwang po ang AFP and Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) para siguraduhin na magkakaroon tayo ng ligtas, payapa at tahimik na election come May 9," she said. 

(We want to assure our countrymen that the PNP, AFP and PCG are prepared to ensure that we will have a safe, orderly and peaceful elections come May 9.)

Data from the PNP shows that there were 60 incidents of election-related violence which caused 23 deaths in the month leading up to the 2019 mid-term elections, according to the US Department of State's 2021 report on the human rights practices in the Philippines. 

No endorsement for presidential bet

On Tuesday, Duterte maintained he is not endorsing any presidential bet.

"Ulitin ko, may haka haka palagi na ganito, kasi just because I'm seen in the company of them. It's not that. As president, I have to go where my duty mandates me to pero ulitin ko, better disabuse your minds about getting into guesses, assumptions, wala akong kandidato pagkapresidente ngayon hanggang Disyembre," he said. 

(I will repeat, there are rumors that [I'm endorsing someone] just because I'm seen in the company of them. It's not that. As president, I have to go where my duty mandates me to but I will repeat, better disabuse your minds of getting into guesses, assumptions. I do not have a candidate for president from now up until December.")

He added that it is his constitutional duty to see to it that the rules are being followed.

In March, Duterte met with survey frontrunner and presidential aspirant Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. to speak about his experiences as the outgoing chief executive. The Palace has said that they spoke about Duterte's achievements in his term, and that the President gave Marcos Jr. advice.

READ: A step closer to endorsement? Palace confirms Duterte meeting with Marcos

The son of the late dictator said he is hoping for Duterte's endorsement as he believes it will boost his campaign. In a press conference last week, he claimed he was already receiving the President's “tacit endorsement” for allowing the administration-backed PDP Laban to support him and his running mate Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio. 






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