'You choose': Philippines President Duterte threatens to jail those who refuse Covid-19 vaccine

The outspoken politician said he was 'exasperated by Filipinos not heeding the government'.

Andrew Koay | June 22, 2021, 12:11 PM

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Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has given his citizens an ultimatum — get vaccinated or go to jail.

"You choose, vaccine or I will have you jailed," said the outspoken politician in a Jun. 21 televised address, according to Reuters.

The Inquirer reported that he followed up the threat, with another salvo: "I will have you arrested. And I will inject the vaccine in your butt."

For those who "don't like to be vaccinated", he threatened that he will have them "injected with a vaccine for pigs" instead.

"That will really kill (the virus), including you."

Slow progress on vaccination front

The remarks come after reports of low turnouts at several vaccination sites in Manila as the Philippines struggles to contain infections.

The Southeast Asian country has thus far seen over 1.3 million Covid-19 cases and more than 23,000 deaths.

"There is a crisis in this country," Duterte was reported by Reuters as saying.

"I'm just exasperated by Filipinos not heeding the government."

Despite the president's harsh words, health officials have said that while getting vaccinated is strongly urged, it would be done on a voluntary basis.

The country's vaccine rollout began in March and according to The Inquirer, so far only 1.9 million people have been fully vaccinated.

The statistics come as a blow for the Philippines — which has a population of 110 million — and the government's target to have 70 million people immunised by the end of the year.

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Top image via Ted Aljibe/AFP/Getty Images