PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte called on the local government units (LGUs) in the country Monday night, November 15, to pass ordinances that will restrict unvaccinated minors in malls and other public places.

In his Talk to the People Address aired online Monday, Duterte said the government cannot allow those below 12 years old and those getting or still unvaccinated to be exposed to the risk of getting Sars-CoV-2, which causes the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), in public places.

“I am calling all local government units to consider passing ordinances for age restriction among minors who can be allowed to go to the malls,” Duterte said.

He also appealed to the parents and guardians of unvaccinated minors to be mindful of the risk, citing a report that a two-year-old child tested positive for coronavirus three days after a mall visit.

“Part of caring for them is thinking about their safety,” he said.

“Alam kong gustung-gusto niyo nang ipasyal ang mga anak niyo after staying for so long inside your home due to lockdowns, pero isipin ninyo kung maliliit pa ang mga anak niyo at hindi pa bakunado, do not expose them to the virus. They have no defense mechanism in their system (against) Covid-19,” the President added.

He reminded the public that Covid-19 remains a health threat, but it can be defeated by continuing to observe the minimum health protocols and by ramping up the vaccination.

The government is currently inoculating children 12 to 17 years old against Covid-19, aside from the ongoing vaccination of the general population.

Cabinet Secretary and acting presidential spokesperson Karlo Nograles, for his part, clarified Tuesday, November 16, that Duterte’s call to LGUs was to consider restricting minors who are unvaccinated.

He said the LGUs still have the discretion to restrict minors depending on the situations on the ground.

“Ang panawagan ni President Duterte is for LGUs to consider depending on the situation on the ground, depending on the realities on the ground dahil ibat-ibang LGUs ay may ibat-ibang present circumstances pagdating sa taas ng bilang ng Covid. Nasa kanila po yung discretion to analyze, study and consider ang panawagan ni President Duterte na perhaps an ordinance para limitahan ang pagpunta sa mall ng mga unvaxxed minors,” he said. (SunStar Philippines)