MANILA – President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Monday reminded those who refused to get vaccinated against Covid-19 that their individual rights must subserve public good.

He acknowledged criticism over his directive to village officials to restrict movements of unvaccinated persons, but explained that their individual rights cannot go above “the interest of the community.”

“Your rights must subserve the rights of others to protect the good, the public good of all,” he said in a prerecorded Talk to the People.

Duterte justified his directive, noting that it is after “the greatest good for the greatest number.”

“Balik tayo sa basics ng (Let’s go back to the basics of a) democratic country. The rule is always and has been and it does not change: Public good remains high in the hierarchy of things, obligasyon ng gobyerno (as an obligation of government),” he said.

He said “government can always come up with measures that would intrude your rights” if it is for the national interest.

“Ang hinahabol natin diyan (What we are after) is the greatest good for the greatest number. That’s a dictum that must be remembered when Constitutional provisions are being put into issue kagaya ng alamin ng barangay captain kung sino yung walang bakuna (just like directing barangay captains to identify those who are unvaccinated),” he added.

Duterte said it is the duty of the government to ensure the safety and well-being of most Filipinos.

“The duty of government in a democracy is the greatest good for the greatest number…Kaya nga (That is why) just to illustrate what it is, what it means, it means a democracy—the majority prevails,” he added.

Duterte earlier said he is ready to answer complaints that would be filed against him for ordering village officials in the country to restrict the movement of unvaccinated people.

Several local governments, particularly in Metro Manila, are currently imposing restrictions on unvaccinated individuals.

While there may be justifiable reasons for imposing restrictions on individuals who have not been vaccinated, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) said they must not be denied access to essential government services. (PNA)