'Tanggapin na lang natin': Palace says on military's COVID-19 vaccination

 By Deighton Acuin

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque (PHOTO: Philippine Daily Inquirer)

Malacañang said Monday the coronavirus jabs being administered to military personnel were voluntary, adding the need of protection against the disease which succumbed more than 9,000 individuals nationwide.

“Huwag n yo naman pong ipagkait sa ating mga sundalo kung nagkaroon sila ng proteksyon,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said at a news conference.

“Tanggapin na lang po natin na importante na iyong ating kasundaluhan, yung mga nagbabantay sa ating seguridad, ay ligtas na sa COVID nang magampan nila ang kanilang trabaho.”

Roque made the remark amid speculations after President Rodrigo Duterte's pronouncement that some military members were inoculated with SinoPharm vaccine.

“This must have been made by the soldiers and probably by the commanders kasi hindi naman po yan makakarating sa sundalo kung walang go-signal ng mga commanders and I understand naman this is voluntary, wala pong sapilitan,” Roque said.

“It was not mandatory; kung sino lang yung gusto.”

SinoPharm has yet to approved by the country's Food and Drug Administration (FDA) but Roque noted that laws does not prohibit any unauthorized product vaccinations.

“Hindi po ipinagbabawal ang pagturok maski hindi rehistrado, huwag lang ibenta, huwag lang i-distribute,” he said.

Last week, the President praised soldiers for their efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19. He said the entire nation witnessed how the military “fought proudly at the frontlines alongside our valiant health workers.”

In a radio interview on Monday, Philippine Army chief Lieutenant General Cirilito Sobejana said those who got vaccinated include officials and non-commissioned officers. Interior Secretary Eduardo Año also disclosed that some soldiers, including members of the Presidential Security Group, had been vaccinated.

Roque did not gave any clarification with the officials' statement, adding he could only repeat what Duterte has been remarked.



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