Bantay Bakuna seeks to remove IATF-mandated COVID-19 jabs to Filipino workers


COVID-19 vaccination at the Commonwealth Hospital and Medical Center in Novaliches, Quezon City on November 22, 2021 (PNA photo by Oliver Marquez)

An alliance that is monitoring the rollout of COVID-19 vaccination in the country has launched an online petition against mandatory jabs for on-site workers.

The alliance called Bantay Bakuna denounced Friday, November 26 the news Interagency Working Group for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) Resolution No. 148-B.

In the resolution, workers who are asked to work on site must be vaccinated or undergo regular RT-PCR tests at their expense.

The provisions of the resolution will come into effect on December 1.

READ: Philippines to require vaccination of employees working on site (philstar.com)

Making vaccination a requirement for workers exposes them to unemployment and layoffs during an economic crisis, Bantay Bakuna said.

“Forcing workers to spend on tests in exchange for a vaccination pushes them even more into debt. Providing incentives to commercial establishments with better vaccination practices forces workers to get the vaccine or lose their jobs at the expense of their employer’s profits, ”he added.

The alliance also said the policy creates “selective freedom” to privileged locations with abundant vaccine supplies versus those without.

“Restricting access to transport and to public and private facilities receiving preferential treatment in government services to those vaccinated creates selective freedom for those who already enjoy a plentiful supply of vaccines, leaving the rest of the population locked up and further behind, “he said.

Bantay Bakuna further noted that this rule shifts the burden of controlling the pandemic to the Philippine workforce, rather than the government.

“All of this relieves the government of its responsibility to control this pandemic through comprehensive, free and accessible testing, tracing, treatment and prevention measures, and once again shifts the burden on individual efforts,” he said. -he declares.

At least 3,332 have already signed in the petition linked in the message. The target number of signatures is 5,000.

The questionable measure

In the IATF resolution in question, one of the actions that the President Rodrigo Duterte approved involved mandatory jabs on eligible Filipino workers.

“In areas where stocks of COVID-19 vaccines are sufficient, as determined by the National Vaccines Operation Center (NVOC), all establishments and employers in the public and private sectors should require their eligible employees who are responsible for performing work on site to be vaccinated against COVID-19 ”, the resolution read.

“Eligible employees who have not been vaccinated cannot be terminated solely because of them. However, they will have to undergo regular RT-PCR testing at their own expense as part of on-site work. Provided that antigen tests can be used when the capacity for RT-PCR is insufficient or is not immediately available, ”he added.

Last August, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Labor and Employment strongly advised against the “no vaccine, no work” policy.

The DOLE specifically stated in a notice that this rule is not allowed.

“Any employee who refuses or fails to be vaccinated should not be discriminated against in terms of seniority, promotion, training, pay and other benefits, among others, or dismissal. No vaccine, no work policy will be authorized, ”indicates the opinion.

READ: “No vax, no work” is illegal, says DOH as fake news sparks panic


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