Duterte, president of the Philippines threatened to arrest Filipinos who refuse COVID-19 vaccination.
He told them to leave the country if they do not want to cooperate with the government to fight against the virus.
President Rodrigo Duterte is known for his public outbursts and rash pomposity.
In televised remarks Monday night, he told, that he has become frustrated with people who are not willing to get immunized in a health crisis then help spread the coronavirus.
“Don’t get me wrong. There is a crisis being faced in this country. There is a national emergency. If you don’t want to get vaccinated, I’ll have you arrested and I’ll inject the vaccine in your butt,” Duterte said.
“If you will not agree to be vaccinated, leave the Philippines. Go to India if you want or somewhere, to America,” he said.
Moreover, he added – he would make the village leaders gather a list of defiant residents.
On Tuesday Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra recognized that there was no Philippine law forbidding refusal to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.
“I believe that the president merely used strong words to drive home the need for us to get vaccinated and reach herd immunity as soon as possible,” Guevarra said.
Edre Olalia, a human rights lawyer raised concerns regarding the president’s threat, saying the president could not order the arrest of anybody who has not committed any crime.
Duterte and his administration have faced criticism in the past. It was because of a vaccination campaign – supply issues and public uncertainty.
With constant delays, vaccinations started in March. Still, many people chose to wait for Western vaccines, pressuring some cities to offer snacks and store discounts to encourage people to get vaccinated.
Duterte blamed wealthy Western countries for cornering vaccines for their own citizens. Hence, leaving poorer countries like the Philippines behind.
According to some officials, the inadequate vaccine supply more than public uncertainty was a much bigger problem.
The country has become a COVID-19 hotspot in Asia. It consists of more than 1.3 million Covid cases and at least 23,749 deaths.