President Rodrigo Roa Duterte is welcomed by Presidential Security Group (PSG) Commander Brigadier General Jose Niembra during the 122nd PSG anniversary at the PSG Compound on June 26, 2019. ROBINSON NIÑAL JR./PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

Families of uniformed personnel will be among those to be given early access to Covid-19 vaccines, as President Rodrigo Duterte has promised, out of recognition for servicemen, Malacañang said on Monday.

Duterte made the promise on Saturday, during his visit to the Kuta Heneral Teodulfo Bautista Headquarters in Jolo, Sulu.

“Mauna kayo,” he told troops. “And if the Secretary Carlito Galvez would — sabihin ko sa kanya kasali na ‘yung pamilya ninyo. Magpunta ‘yung mag-inject sa mga kampo, tuturukan pati ‘yung mga anak ninyo,” he said.

‘Ito lahat libre ito. Libre ‘to. So that you would depend… Para hindi kayo mag-worry kung nandiyan na na ano kayang mangyari. Eh ano ito — this is a very vicious microbe,” he added.

In a press briefing, Palace spokesman Harry Roque said the move by Duterte was done “out of recognition… na talagang importante po ang papel na ginagalawan o ginagampan ng ating mga men in uniform because theirs is the maintenance of peace and order in our society.”

Roque also claimed there would be enough Covid-19 vaccines to be delivered to the country this year so vaccine supply wouldn’t pose a shortage problem.

“Huwag naman po kayong mag-alala kasi sa ating initial list, 24 million ang ating babakunahan ‘no. If at all, siguro madadagdagan po ito ng mga two million if there are three members of a family of the men in uniform ‘no. At sobra-sobra naman po iyong inaasahan na nating dadating na bakuna by the second or third quarter of the year,” he said.

The Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases will convene to discuss how soldiers’ families would be integrated into the vaccine priority list, Roque said.

The following is the priority list for the country’s vaccination as per Duterte:

  1. frontline health workers
  2. teachers, social workers and other government workers
  3. essential workers outside health, education, social welfare (working in agriculture, food, tourism sectors)
  4. socio-demographic groups, overseas Filipino workers
  5. uniformed personnel and their families

The start of the country’s vaccination program is scheduled for February. John Ezekiel J. Hirro