APPEAL, not warning, is how President Rodrigo Duterte described his most recent call on the Community Party of the Philippines and its armed wing New People’s Army, to whom he asked to allow safe transport of coronavirus vaccine deliveries across the country starting this month.
In his weekly televised address, Duterte cited the “rule of humanity” even as he hinted on government effort to prepare roll out its COVID-19 vaccination program.
“We might issue this appeal, not a warning. I am appealing to the Communist Party of the Philippines… (it) must guarantee that the vaccines, in the course of their being transported to areas where there are no city health officers or medical personnel, do not touch the medicines,” the President said.
“Allow the vaccines to be transported freely and safely. I am asking you now to observe that rule because that is for the Filipino people,” Duterte added.
Aside from the communists, Duterte likewise called on government officials not to hamper or obstruct the system of vaccine transportation and delivery.
“May I just address myself to every government worker… do not delay or do not hinder, do not obstruct the smooth flow (of vaccine deliveries) that you see now, from the time of the arrival to the time of clearance,” Duterte said.
“Your job in the [Bureau of] Customs is to look. You have no business opening the vaccine packages. You are not allowed to do that. I am not allowing anybody, anybody who works in the airport, to open any vaccine deliveries,” the President stressed.
The Philippines is awaiting the first batch of COVID-19 vaccines from the COVAX Facility of the World Health Organization, expected to arrive next week.