By Deighton Acuin and Archie Villaflores

PHOTO: EcoPinoy/Presidential Photos

Malacañang said Monday that President Rodrigo Duterte decided to receive coronavirus vaccine publicly to encourage Filipinos to follow suit.

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque told reporters in a press briefing that there is no date set for the inoculation program although Duterte is part of the individuals who are under prioritization due to senior age.

“He only has to announce when it will be done and that’s of course in recognition of the fact na nag-aantay ng senyales ang taumbayan kung talaga sila’y magpapabakuna o hindi,” Roque said.

“Ninanais po ng Presidente na lahat ng Pilipino ay magkaroon ng kumpyansa na magpabukana dahil ang bakuna po ang solusyon dito sa pandemiya ng COVID-19,” Roque added.

Last month, Roque said Duterte wanted to receive the doses privately.

Former Duterte’s close aide and current Senator Christopher “Bong” Go issued a statement that the Chief Executive is now willing to receive the jabs in public as long as he was cleared by his doctors.

World leaders like United States President Joe Biden, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Indonesian President Joko Widodo are already received vaccines in public.

The government aims to immunize 70 million Filipinos by this year with the rollout to begin this month. Healthcare workers will be the first receiver of the vaccines.

An earlier survey from Pulse Asia revealed that near majority of Filipinos are “not inclined” to get vaccinated against COVID-19 due to safety reasons.

While 95% of Filipinos said they are aware vaccines are being developed, 47% said they would not get vaccinated. Only 32% expressed willingness and the remaining 21% said they were ambivalent, according to Pulse Asia.

Eighty-four percent of those who said they would not get vaccinated cited safety concerns as the reason for their unwillingness.