- Senator Risa Hontiveros called out Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque for saying the Filipino public cannot choose which brand of COVID-19 vaccine they prefer
- She said that if President Rodrigo Duterte can choose, the public should too
- Roque said Duterte is choosing between getting a vaccine made by China or Russia
Senator Risa Hontiveros has expressed her disappointment over the recent statement of presidential spokesperson Harry Roque over the government’s COVID-19 vaccination program.
Earlier, Roque said that Filipinos should not be “picky” about the free COVID-19 vaccine to be given by the government. He said the vaccination is not forced, so the public cannot choose what brand they prefer.
Hontiveros said the Palace should stop “cramming vaccine preferences down the public’s throat.” She said it’s disappointing when Roque revealed that President Rodrigo Duterte has the option to choose while the Filipino public is left with no choice.
“Sabi ni Sec. Roque, hindi pwede maging choosy. Pero sabi niya rin na si Presidente mismo ay namimili pa between Russian and Chinese vaccines,” Hontiveros said in a statement.
“Kung si Presidente pwedeng mamili, dapat ang taumbayan ay malaya ding makakapili at kalusugan nila iyan,” she added.
Hontiveros went on to say the public’s dwindling trust on the vaccine is the seemingly lack of action by the government of the smuggled vaccine given to the military.
“Paanong hindi bababa ang tiwala at kung anu-ano ang nababalitaan ng mamamayang Pilipino? Dumagdag pa na nabakunahan ang ilang miyembro ng Presidential Security Group at Pogo workers through apparent smuggling na parang kinukunsinti pa ng administrasyon. Hindi pa sigurado kung ligtas ang bakunang ginamit,” she said.
The senator said the government should prove to the public that they can be trusted to procure a safe and effective vaccine for all. Hontiveros said that as lawmakers it is their responsibility to earn the trust of the public and not extract it.