Philippines' Duterte warns he'll jail people who refuse the COVID-19 vaccine

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Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte on a visit to China.
Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte on a visit to China. Wu Hong-Pool/Getty Images

Do not pass go, do not collect $200 — if you're in the Philippines and refuse the COVID-19 vaccine, President Rodrigo Duterte wants you to go directly to jail.

"You choose, vaccine or I will have you jailed," Duterte said on Monday during a televised address. The Philippines has reported more than 1.3 million COVID-19 cases and over 23,000 deaths. There is low turnout at vaccination sites in Manila, and while health officials have stressed the importance of the vaccine, they also have made it clear it's voluntary, Reuters reports.

Duterte has decided to try to a different approach. There is "a crisis in this country," he said. "I'm just exasperated by Filipinos not heeding the government." As of Sunday, 2.1 million Filipinos have been fully vaccinated. There are 110 million people living in the Philippines, and the government has said its goal is to inoculate 70 million by the end of the year.

Duterte is known for his hardline stance on most things — he has waged a war on drugs since being elected in 2016, and thousands have been killed in the campaign. A prosecutor with the International Criminal Court has asked to investigate these deaths, but Duterte on Monday said he will not cooperate. "Why would I defend or face an accusation before white people," he said. "You must be crazy."

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