Manila, Philippines – Instead of intimidating unvaccinated individuals with sanctions, presidential aspirant Vice President Leni Robredo on Sunday, January 9, wanted the government to give them incentives to encourage more Filipinos to get vaccinated.


“Pero babalik ako doon sa dati kong paniniwala na kailangan nagbibigay tayo ng incentive para magpabakuna iyong mga tao. Dapat iyong pag-incentivize sa mga tao para magpabakuna dapat tuloy-tuloy iyon, [But I will go back to my old belief that we need to provide an incentive to vaccinate your people. You have to incentivize people to get vaccinated, that should be continuous]” she added.

The Vice President stressed that the government should not use “penalties” against those who are not vaccinated.

“Kapag hindi ka nagpabakuna, huhulihin ka. Kapag hindi ka nagpabakuna, ganito. Mas mabuti sana mas positive, na pag nagpabakuna ka, ito yung mae-enjoy mo na, [If you don’t get vaccinated, you will be arrested. When you don’t get vaccinated, like this. It would have been better to be more positive, that when you get vaccinated, this is what you can enjoy,]” Robredo explained.

The strategy should be “positive reinforcement.”

These are her statements after President Duterte ordered barangay officials to restrict the movement of unvaccinated residents.

They are also not accepted in some commercial establishments, which Robredo agreed to because these establishments have the right to refuse entry to those who have not been vaccinated.

Robredo lamented that when the daily number of COVID-19 cases dropped from November to December, the government became complacent in encouraging people to get vaccinated.

This is despite having a greater supply of COVID-19 vaccine.

She stressed the need to be “creative” in interacting with people to get them vaccinated, while citing the Aeta communities in Capas, Tarlac that the Office of the Vice President (OVP) Vaccine Express has been able to encourage to get vaccinated.

Robredo’s Vaccine Express, which aims to increase the capacity of local government units (LGUs) to vaccinate their residents, offers various incentives such as five kilos of rice and a P500 gas coupon.

To date, the Philippines has 50,627,196 fully vaccinated individuals. A total of 2,207,941 individuals were also given their booster shots.

On Saturday, January 8, the country recorded 26,458 cases, another new record-high. Experts believe this is the effect of the very transmissible variant of Omicron, as well as relaxation in people during the holiday season.