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Palace says Duterte not to blame for sudden influx of crowds in some vaccination sites

By PhilSTAR L!fe Published Aug 09, 2021 6:30 pm Updated Aug 09, 2021 6:32 pm

Malacanang said President Rodrigo Duterte’s previous threat about unvaccinated individuals not being allowed to go out of their houses should not be blamed for the sudden influx in COVID-19 vaccination sites a day before the imposition of the enhanced community quarantine last week.

In a televised press briefing today, August 9, palace spokesman Harry Roque said that Duterte should not be blamed as his latest warning for Filipinos to get vaccinated came days before people suddenly swarmed some vaccination sites.

Last August 5, a record number of crowds suddenly turned up at some vaccination sites in Manila, Antipolo, and Las Pinas, leading some areas to suspend walk-in vaccinations.

“Kinakailangan naman po mga lokal na mga pamahalaan na tanggapin po ang katungkulan na isaayos ang pagbabakuna at wag namang ibaling ang sisi sa ating presidente,” Roque said.

Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso said in an interview with ANC that “somebody” made a statement threatening individuals that they will not receive the government’s cash assistance if they are not vaccinated, which generated panic for people to suddenly swarm sites in record numbers.

Duterte has made statements that he will order the police to arrest unvaccinated individuals for going out of their houses.

Roque, however, said that Duterte made the threat a week before the influx happened.

“Wala pong kinalaman yung sinabi ng presidente diyan. Huwag po nating lagyan ng kulay ang mga sinabi ng presidente,” Roque said.

On August 5, local government officials like Moreno as well as Malacanang blamed fake news peddlers saying unvaccinated individuals will not receive cash assistance and be allowed to go home for the chaos at some sites.

Some reports, like this Al Jazeera story, that came out from the incident also quoted some Filipinos saying that they were afraid of the president’s threat. (Bim Santos with a report from Paulina Romarate)

(Individuals hoping to get inoculated with COVID-19 vaccine flock to a mall in Antipolo City on Thursday, August 05, 2021. Michael Varcas / The Philippine Star)