After groaning about vaccine hesitancy among Muslims in Mindanao, President Rodrigo Duterte wants leaders of Muslim communities to encourage their constituents to receive Covid-19 vaccines, the Palace said.

Duterte on Monday night claimed that Muslims were refusing Covid-19 vaccines due to their religion and culture.

“[J]ust an information to everybody, in Mindanao, the Muslim community are resisting the bakuna,” the president said.

Acting Palace spokesman Karlo Nograles on Tuesday said that Duterte aired his groans to push leaders to use their influence to help alleviate vaccine hesitancy among Muslims.

“Iyong statement ni pangulo…ay nasa konteksto po ng pagbibigay-diin ng halaga ng ating mga local leaders…sa ating mga governors, mayors and even down to the barangay kapitan and barangay officials na malaki po ang ambag at ang influence ng ating mga local leaders,” he said.

The World Health Organization has said that Covid-19 vaccines are halal.

A recent Social Weather Stations survey found that vaccine skepticism in Mindanao has been declining.

The number of Filipinos in Mindanao opposed to receiving Covid-19 vaccines dropped from 25 percent to eight percent in December 2021, according to the survey. John Ezekiel J. Hirro