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PNP warns anti-vaccine protesters defying health protocols

3:44 pm on 19 September 2021, Sunday

The chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) on Sunday warned individuals and groups who held protest actions against the COVID-19 vaccination drive and the public health protocols set by the government. 

PNP chief Police General Guillermo Eleazar issued the statement after members of a group called “Gising Maharlika” gathered at Liwasang Bonifacio in Manila to oppose the government’s vaccination program and other measures such as implementing lockdowns and testing people for the virus. 

Photos circulating online also showed members of the group not wearing masks.

“Nirerespeto namin ang paniniwala ng ilan nating kababayan na hindi maniwala na may COVID at hindi maniwala sa bakuna, pero matuto din sana kayong igalang ang paniniwala ng mas maraming bilang ng mga Pilipino, kabilang na ang mga namatayan at nahawa at lalong lalo na ang ating mga healthcare workers na nasa frontline ng laban na ito,” Eleazar said.

“Holding protest actions to insist on what you believe in does not make it right. It is but plain and simple acts of defiance and irresponsibility because you are putting our personnel and other civilian population at risk of being infected,” he added. 

Eleazar warned that anti-vaccine groups and COVID-19 deniers will not be tolerated if they continue to disrespect the beliefs of most Filipinos and public health policies. 

He tasked local police chiefs to check for possible mass actions wherein protesters would deliberately not wear face masks and violate health rules. 

The Philippines has reported 2.34 million COVID-19 cases, including 36,583 deaths, since the start of the pandemic.

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