President Rodrigo Duterte called on the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) not to interrupt the country’s inoculation drive as the arrival of Covid-19 vaccines in the country neared.

“I am appealing to the (CPP), ‘yung pinaka-umbrella. I don’t consider ‘yung mga NDF-NDF pati NPA (New People’s Army). Iyong (CPP) must guarantee that the vaccines in the course of their being transported to areas where [there] are no city health officers or medical persons na huwag ninyong galawin ang medisina,” the president said in a televised briefing.

“Allow the vaccines to be transported freely and safely. I am asking you now to observe that rule because that is for the Filipino people.”

Also on Monday, Palace spokesman Harry Roque said that vaccines would arrive in the country by mid-February.

In July last year, Duterte said members of the New People’s Army who would vow to stop fighting military troops throughout the inoculation drive would be given vaccines.

The NPA, in a statement, said it would “ensure that transportation of Covid-19 vaccines will be provided a humanitarian corridor for safe and unimpeded passage in guerrilla base and zones.”

Duterte also nudged the Bureau of Customs, which has been in hot water as of late over corruption allegations, to not open vaccine boxes.

“Ang trabaho lang ninyo Customs is magtingin. You have no business na buksan-buksan ‘yan diyan. You are not allowed to do that. I am not allowing you anybody — anybody there sa airport na magbukas-bukas,” he said. John Ezekiel J. Hirro