‘I support science behind vax’: How Kiko Rustia rejected Pen Medina’s debate offer

September 23, 2021 - 9:21 AM
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Kiko and Pen
Kiko Rustia in this photo on his Instagram on Nov. 2, 2018 (left) and Pen Medina in this photo on his Instagram on Aug. 31, 2021 (right).

Former “Born to be Wild” host Kiko Rustia said that he will continue to advocate for COVID-19 vaccination after veteran actor Pen Medina challenged him to a debate over “forced coronavirus vaccinations” which is not being implemented by the government.

Kiko on Wednesday shared Facebook screengrabs of his online exchange with the actor who falsely believes that face masks are ineffective against the virus which can be transmitted through airborne particles.

“So hinanap pala ako ni Pen Medina sa FB (Facebook). At nag-comment sa post ko about vaccine information. Hinahamon ako sa debate tungkol sa bakuna. Eto lang ang sagot ko,” he said on Twitter, referring to his screengrabs.

“Emphasis on ‘hindi siya doktor para maging reliable resource person sa bagay na ito,'” Kiko added.

“Uulitin ko lang—si Pen Medina ay isa sa pinaka magaling na artist sa teatro at telebisyon. Isa sa mga tinitingala ko sa sining. Pero ang kanyang pinaninindigan tungkol sa COVID-19 at mga bakuna ay isang bagay na ‘di ko susuportahan. Mask up. Get vaccinated. Save lives,” the former host further said.

Last month, Kiko reshared a Facebook post of the Bureau of Communications Services which featured information on the different COVID-19 vaccines available in the country.

Pen saw the post and recalled Kiko expressing disappointment when the former previously claimed that face masks are not effective in suppressing the virus.

“Kung ikaw ‘yun, baka hindi mo nakita iyung hamon ko sa iyo na public debate tungkol sa forced vaccination, hinahamon kita ngayon. Ito naman ay para lumabas ang katotohanan. Kung gusto mo, kuwentuhan lang, public kape-kape baga,” the veteran actor said in a comment.

“Para sa mga nasaktan o namatayan sa bakuna at sa kaalaman ng mga kababayan natin. Nakita ko, crusader ka. Tara?” Pen added.

He then shared non-health website links containing COVID-19 misinformation.

Kiko, in response, declined Pen’s invitation to a debate and said that the latter is not a doctor who can be a “reliable resource person” on the matter.

“I support vaccines and the science behind it. I support the doctors and health care workers in the frontlines advocating it. As someone who got COVID, I know that it’s real. And pinagdadaanan ko pa din ang after effects ng sakit na ‘yon,” the former host replied.

“I will continue to support vaccines, I will continue to share and promote factual, peer reviewed science and data I gather, and I continue to advocate vaccination… para na din sa mga nasaktan at namatayan dahil hindi nabakunahan or tumanggi sa bakuna. I still respect you as an artist sir Pen, but I’m afraid I can’t respect your opinion because lives are at stake,” Kiko added.

Pen continued to send dubious website links but Kiko didn’t entertain them anymore.

The veteran actor previously made headlines when he aired anti-mask sentiments and joined a protest rally spearheaded by the Gising Maharlika group.

Experts said that face masks remain an effective precautionary measure against COVID-19 since these can block respiratory and airborne particles containing the virus.

The Philippine National Police on Sunday said that it would monitor other protesters violating the minimum public health protocols after Gising Maharlika protested against the supposed mandatory vaccination.

The government does not have a policy requiring Filipinos to get vaccinated but it is encouraging everyone to get a jab for the country to reach herd immunity against the virus.

“The pandemic ends when almost everyone has immunity, preferably because they were vaccinated or alternatively because they were infected and survived. When that happens, the cycle of surges will stop and the pandemic will peter out,” a report from The Atlantic notes.