MANILA, Philippines – Returning unvaccinated people to their homes is “an appropriate exercise of state power to protect public health,” Senate minority leader Franklin Drilon said Friday.
However, Drilon stressed that such exercise of power must be weighed carefully as many Filipinos remain unvaccinated due to the lack of vaccines in the country.
“It is right that the unvaccinated should stay at home. When they go out, repatriation to their homes is a sensible exercise of state power to protect public health. Kailangan ito gawin para masugpo ang pagkalat ng Delta variant of COVID-19, (We need to do this to curb the spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant), “Drilon said in a statement.
The minority leader made the statement after President Rodrigo Duterte stressed the need for a law to prohibit unvaccinated people from going out.
“There is no law, but the need is there,” Duterte said in a briefing broadcast on Wednesday.
“I will answer for it. This is my order: you will be taken back to your house. This is my order. You will be returned to your home. I will face it. I take full responsibility for this, ”added the President.
Drilon, a former attorney general, said it is “well within the power” of the state to restrict the movement of unvaccinated individuals, but the law must be passed first if the government intends to punish, arrest, or detain the unvaccinated houses are located outside of the country.
“It is a valid and reasonable exercise of police force to promote the health, safety and general welfare of people. The general welfare clause also gives the state sufficient powers to implement measures to ‘maintain peace and order, protect life, freedom and property, and promote the common good,’ ”he added.
Drilon added that the state “can interfere with personal freedom to promote general welfare as long as the interference is reasonable and not arbitrary”.
Still, he urged the government to investigate the factors why many Filipinos have not yet been vaccinated.
“It’s a political call from the president, but the government needs to investigate the factors why many Filipinos remain unvaccinated. Some areas have limited access to vaccines, slow roll or the vaccines available are not what people prefer, ”he said.
“Such an action must have the simultaneous responsibility of the state to make the vaccines available to the public,” he added.
In addition, the Senator emphasized the need for a uniform vaccination card with basic security features in order to prevent manipulation and forgery.
The Ministry of Health said in a briefing on Friday that “no distinction” will be made between vaccinated and unvaccinated people when it comes to being outdoors during the Extended Community Quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila.
Earlier in the day, Malcañang announced that Metro Manila would be placed under Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ), the government’s strictest quarantine status, from August 6-20, 2021.
In the meantime, Metro Manila will remain under general community quarantine with tightened restrictions this Friday through August 5.
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