President Duterte said he is willing to waive his slot in the government vaccination program and give the jab to a young and productive individual.
“I will waive [my slot], I am 70 above… you know 70 above, what would I get? Dream of what? Living until kingdom come? If anyone is willing to get my slot, I will give it,” he said.
Duterte said that he was not sick and can continue doing his duties as president of the country, dismissing speculations that he was ill.
“If I tell you that I am sick, I am sick” he said during his Talk to the People address, denying rumors that he was ill and was unable to fulfill the functions of his office.
The government has so far administered more than 1 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to the country’s health care workers, senior citizens and persons with co-morbidities.
Duterte’s spokesman said his remark about waiving his vaccination slot was his “personal conviction” that may change when more vaccine supplies arrive.
“This is the President’s personal conviction now that there is a limited supply of vaccines. The people first before him,” he said in an online briefing.
Roque said Duterte’s statement was “temporary” and expressed hope that it would change when the bulk of COVID-19 vaccines arrive in the second quarter of the year.
Duterte may push through with his public vaccination when more vaccine doses arrive in the country, Roque added.
Roque also dismissed rumors that Duterte has already been administered a vaccine, saying that was “all speculation.”
Roque described Duterte’s appearance on national television to deliver his regular public address as proof of his good health amid rumors about his being ill or dead.
“Duterte showing himself on television is proof that our Chief Executive is fit, healthy, not to mention, he looks younger,” Roque said in Filipino.
Last week, Duterte skipped his regular public address after many of his close-in security detail tested positive for COVID-19.
In a pre-recorded public address on Monday night, Duterte said he was purposely out of the public eye last week because he was busy reviewing and signing documents.
Duterte dared critics to “pray harder” if they wanted rumors about him being ill or dead to come true.