Protest Duterte's fascist and stupid vaccine mandate

This article is available in Pilipino

The Filipino must condemn and protest the Duterte regime’s nationwide vaccine mandate. It is patently discriminatory, unlawful, fascist, burdensome, and above all, useless and stupid.

Duterte’s vaccine mandate is practically another lockdown. It aims to impose on the people the burden of controlling the pandemic and exculpate the government for its refusal to shoulder the costs of mass testing, contact tracing, ramping up health facilities, treatment of infections and economic aid for the millions of economically dislocated people. Its 2022 budget for health remains grossly insufficient.

Duterte’s vaccine mandate is downright discriminatory against more than half of the Philippine population who are unvaccinated, mainly by lack of vaccines and the cost and inaccessibility of vaccination (due to “no work, no pay” loss of income for standing in long queues, transportation costs especially for people in rural areas and other factors).

Duterte’s order prohibiting unvaccinated people from leaving their homes, moving around and accessing economic and other public services is an outright violation of people’s social, economic and civil rights. It is outrightly illegal that Duterte passed the burden on local governments to come up with ordinances to arrest, detain or penalize people.

Duterte and his big business apologists must be denounced for fanning the anti-unvaccinated fascist hysteria. Some sectors, largely among the middle classes, are being made to ride this mainly undemocratic bandwagon. Getting vaccinated, like any other medical option, is a choice of every individual. It is the responsibility of the state to conduct a comprehensive education campaign to help people overcome their vaccine hesitancy, and provide the conditions to make vaccines accessible.

Duterte’s order to restrict and punish people for not being vaccinated is fascist and authoritarian and a violation of people’s basic health rights. People who hestitate getting vaccinated have the legitimate right to ask questions and should be met with scientific explanations and not arrests. People who want vaccines but cannot have them (primarily because of lack of supply or because they cannot afford to skip work or pay for the travel) should be assisted and not punished. There should be more compassion and understanding for the majority of Filipinos who have yet to be vaccinated.

The Party and revolutionary forces promote vaccination as a scientific way of protecting people from getting infected or suffering from severe symptoms of diseases. In line with this, the Party demands that the monopoly of big pharmaceutical companies be broken up in order to make vaccine research, development and production open-source and democratic, to make vaccines more widely available and cheaper, and to raise the people’s trust and confidence in the vaccines. Vaccination must be made accessible not only by providing them for free, but also by unburdening people who want to go to vaccination centers by providing them transportation and paid work-days.

Above all, Duterte’s order is utterly useless and stupid. It has been proven that vaccination will not stop the spread of the Covid-19 virus, as many vaccinated people can be infected and become carriers, although the risk of getting severely infected and hospitalized is lower. Duterte’s lockdown order will create widespread chaos and burden on the people, as police impose checkpoints to allow only those with vaccination cards to pass through, even though the police don’t really have no idea how to determine which are genuine. This will only generate business for those selling fake vaccination certificates.

Prohibiting more than half the population from becoming economically productive will only further collapse the economy marked by business closures and bankruptcies, widespread unemployment, loss of income, dislocations, supply disruptions and cause the further deterioration of the people’s overall socioeconomic conditions.

Amid a new surge of infections believed to be propelled by the new Omicron variant, and with the efficacy of the Covid-19 vaccines waning in the coming weeks, and less than 2% receiving booster shots, the demand for more effective public health measures and greater access to Covid-19 vaccines is mounting. There is widespread clamor for government to realign public funds to provide free mass testing, especially for workers and students, intensify contact tracing, hire more health workers, improve and expand health facilities, retrofit schools to allow safe in-person classes, and so on. There is demand to suspend the costly debt-driven infrastructure projects and realign the billions that are set to purchase new military aircraft, a warship, cruise missiles, bombs, rockets and artillery.

The people’s rage is seething over the new lockdown measures and oppressive policies of the Duterte regime. The people must act now and manifest their outrage against the Duterte regime’s worsening anti-people response to the pandemic.

Protest Duterte's fascist and stupid vaccine mandate