December 7, 2022

Hontiveros: IATF rules requiring vaccination of on-site workers unfair, against policy


December 3, 2021 | 11:01 am

MANILA, Philippines – The pandemic task force’s resolutions requiring vaccination in certain workplaces are unfair and contrary to the policy of the Department of Labor, Senator Risa Hontiveros said on Friday.

The Interagency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases has issued resolutions ordering employers in areas with sufficient COVID-19 vaccines to require workers on site to be vaccinated.

Under IATF Resolution 148-B, eligible employees who have not yet been vaccinated will be required to take COVID-19 tests at their own expense.

“The IATF resolution challenges DOLE’s opinion on the ‘no vaccine, no work’ policy,” Hontiveros said, adding that the task force should have held more consultations to develop policies that would benefit more. to workers.

READ: DOLE surveys companies with a ‘no vaccine, no work’ policy

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, however, softened that stance, saying in October that IATF resolutions give the policy a legal basis.

“It is not fair to make them bear the cost of the COVID-19 tests if they are not vaccinated when they barely earn enough to support themselves,” Hontiveros said in Filipino. “The government, employers and employee associations should encourage them to get vaccinated instead of punishing them.”

According to a Social Weather Stations poll released in early November, 64% of those polled said they were ready to get the COVID-19 vaccine. This is a significant increase from 45% in a similar survey carried out in June.

Confidence in vaccines in the Philippines had waned even before the COVID-19 pandemic due to the controversy surrounding the dengue vaccine Dengvaxia, which was found to be less effective than initially thought.

Government lawyers have also filed complaints alleging the vaccine was linked to the deaths of several children, a claim refuted by drug maker Sanofi Pasteur, the Department of Health and the Philippine General Hospital.

The Philippines does not have a law requiring vaccination, although President Rodrigo Duterte has hinted that the government has the power to make vaccination compulsory. “You are a carrier and a danger to society,” he also said in October of people refusing vaccination.

The palace said this month that there may not be a need to make vaccination mandatory, as more people are willing to receive the vaccine.

RELATED: No decision yet to impose vaccination as Palace says “akyat bahay” is just a joke

Members of the House Committee on Labor and Employment said this week they would ask the IATF to put the resolutions on hold until the policy is clearer.