Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has been angered lately for his country's low vaccination rate and threatened jail for people who refused to get vaxxed up against COVID-19, according to PNA news agency.
“If you don’t want to get vaccinated, I’ll have you arrested [and] then I’ll inject a vaccine into your buttocks, "Duterte told the nation on a Monday television address after reports of low turnouts at several vaccination sites in the capital Manila.
He continued: "If you don't want to get vaccinated, 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, you should get vaccinated."
Duterte demanded the government identify those who refuse to get vaccinated. "I will order their arrest, to be honest," he said.
Duterte's straightforward comments come as low turnout at several vaccination locations across Manila was observed on Monday.
As of Sunday, the Philippines had 2.1 million people fully vaccinated - with ambitious goals of immunizing 70 million people by the end of the year, in a country of about 110 million.
Besides jail, Duterte could take a softer approach and follow the route the US government took to increase vaccinations by offering lottery tickets, monetary prizes, trucks, guns, food, and all sorts of other goodies to entice people to get vaccinated.
However, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra countered Duterte's remarks and said in a statement there's no law forcing citizens to get vaccinated.
Later this month, the Philippines is expecting donated shots from the US to arrive.