Roque stands by 'colonial mentality’ remark on western vaccine

 By Rjay Zuriaga Castor

PHOTO: Manila Bulletin/PCOO-OPS

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque on Monday defended his statement last week that Filipinos should not be choosy and those who prefers to get inoculated of Pfizer and  BioNTech were driven by “colonial mentality.”

“Wala po akong pakialam basta ako katotohanan lamang,” he said in a regular press briefing. 

“At ang katotohanan po, may ilan po sa atin lalung-lalo na iyong kritiko ng gobyerno na ang pagtingin nila sa bakuna ay depende kung saan po nanggaling," the Palace spokesperson added. 

Roque — who himself has been an apparent defender in boosting a vaccine made in China, added: "Hindi natin dapat tinitingnan kung saan ginagawa ang bakuna, ang dapat tingnan natin kung ito ay ligtas at kung ito po ay epektibo at wala po tayong ituturok kung hindi po napatunayang ligtas at epektibo, kahit saan pa po sila gawa."

Roque dropped the "colonial mentality" remark  after he explained that the coronavirus vaccine developed by American pharmaceutical firm Pfizer requires cold-chain storage facilities, which he said only “major cities” have like Metro Manila and the cities of Cebu and Davao.

“So sa mga mayroong colonial mentality na gusto ang Pfizer, well, puwede po kayong mag-antay,” he said at a news conference on January 11, which later received clap back from Netizens. 

The Palace spokesman also said in the same briefing that Filipinos could not choose which vaccine they will receive for free from the government, a remark that some Filipinos also did not take lightly. 

Roque explained that beneficiaries could either accept or decline the vaccine offered by the government. A waiver of right will be signed by the beneficiary if he or she declines the free vaccine. 

Earlier, Roque announced the government has secured 25 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines from China’s Sinovac that will be delivered this year. The initial shipment of 50,000 doses will arrive next month. 

The Palace official repeatedly assured the nation that the Chinese-made vaccines are proven safe and effective in clinical trials abroad.