There is no argument that the only way to defeat the coronavirus is to be vaccinated. But to force anybody to get vaccinated under fear of being arrested is illegal and unconstitutional.
The President must first declare martial law, scarp the Constitution, and rule by decree before he can order the arrest of anybody who violates the law or government directives.
In his public address Monday night President Duterte said that the country is now in a public health crisis and national emergency. He added: “Kung ayaw mo magpabakuna, ipaaresto kita. At ang bakuna ay galing—itusok ko sa puwet mo. (If you don’t want to be vaccinated, I will have you arrested. The vaccine is from—I will have you injected on your butt).”
Was the President serious or was he joking as his wont whenever he wants to regale his audience?
We tend to believe that in making his threat, President must be joking because he also said that those who refuse to get vaccinated could just leave the Philippines. “Go to India if you want or somewhere, to America. But for as long as you are here and you are a human being, and can carry the virus, get vaccinated,” the president said partly in Filipino.
Certainly, in times like these, we need a stronger resolve to fight a pandemic of this proportion. But arresting people won’t help; on the contrary it would only make the problem worse. Because there are some of us, for religious or personal reasons, who do don’t want to be vaccinated and we have to respect their rights.
As the famous Dr. Jacob Kevorkian, the American “doctor of death” and champion of euthanasia, has said: “Everyone has the right to die.”
But the fact is that the government’s vaccine rollout seems to be working as we have seen long queues of those who want to get their jabs. The complaint now is not the lack of people to be vaccinated but the lack of vaccines. But this is being addressed to by vaccine czar Carlito Galvez and the Department of Health.