President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Thursday called on Filipinos to receive their Covid-19 vaccine booster shots as he said the country’s lenient health restrictions have caused the public to be more lenient.

In his speech during the 75th Ormoc City Diamond Charter Day celebration, the president said the pandemic had yet to be over.

“Mayroon pa rin tayong kailangang pag-alagaan. Kung minsan dahil… ‘Yan ganyan, wala na tayong masks. Hindi na tayo masyadong maingat ay nakakalimutan natin nandiyan pa ang pandemya,” he said.

“Medyo mahina na pero mas hihina ‘yan kung tayo po ay magpa-booster shot…Magpa-booster shot po kayo para mabawasan na ‘yan lahat ng infection, mabuksan na natin lahat ng negosyo, wala nang protocol, wala nang plastic, wala nang kung ano-ano pa,” he added.

Marcos Jr. on Sept. 12 allowed the optional usage of face masks in open spaces and non-crowded outdoor areas with good ventilation.

“Mababa pa tayo sa booster uptake. Dito sa inyo, 33 percent. Pero alam ko kaya ninyong paakyatin ‘yan. It is essential that we increase that rate to 50 percent para mayroon tayong tinatawag na wall of immunity. Magtulungan tayo. Napakahalaga nito at marami tayong magagawa kaagad,” he said.

As of Oct. 19, the Philippines has 73,436,725 fully vaccinated individuals, of whom only 20,396,775 have received booster shots.

The Philippines has 23,721 active Covid-19 cases as of Oct. 20. John Ezekiel J. Hirro