To combat vaccine hesitancy among Filipinos, a number of local government units (LGUs) have been putting up raffles and gimmicks to encourage their constituents to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
"Hindi naman po panunuhol yan, yan po ay marketing. Kabahagi po yan ng kanilang overall marketing (That is not bribery, that is marketing)," said palace spokesman Harry Roque during the televised palace briefing today.
In a recent survey conducted by the Social Weather Stations, it showed that only a third or 32% of respondents said they were willing to receive a free vaccine that has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
Benhur Abalos, chairman of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, said during the same palace briefing that LGU campaigns offering prizes for vaccines are just part of "the innovation and marketing" of LGUs to ramp up the country's vaccination.
Such campaigns are not distinct to the Philippines, as other countries have also been putting up similar schemes.
In the United States, 22-year-old Abbigail Bugenske got in the news recently after winning Ohio’s $1 million Vax-a-Million prize after getting the jab. Other areas in the US have also been offering free beer, doughnuts, and baseball tickets for people to get vaccinated.
In one instance, activists in New York have even given away free marijuana joints for people who could present proof that they have been jabbed.
Here in the Philippines, below are just some of the inducements being offered to encourage people to get vaccinated.
"May bahay sa bakuna"
Las Piñas Rep. Camille Villar has put up a brand new house and lot as the grand raffle prize and two motorcycles as consolation prizes for residents in Las Piñas who have received the COVID-19 vaccine, either the first or second dose. Villar is also raffling 10 grocery packages every month starting June until December, when the grand prize and consolation prizes will be raffled.
"Bigas sa bakuna"
In Muntinlupa City, officials at Brgy. Sucat will be raffling off 20 sacks of rice to its residents. The raffle stubs were given to vaccinees on the day they were jabbed.
"Baka para sa bakuna"
Mayor Jayson Sagum in San Luis, Pampanga is raffling away cows, which cost at least P30,000, for residents who have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine. Sagum said the raffle will be held each month starting July until June of next year. In an interview over DZMM, Sagum said vaccine hesitancy is high in his town especially among seniors.
Though not a local government unit, SM malls offered a free serving of its famous turon with a P250 minimum spend for those who will get the jab in its select malls.
(with a report from Romina Faylon and Cheska Imbuido)