The House Makabayan bloc on Tuesday questioned a provision in the IATF Resolution 148-B, which requires employees who are tasked to report for work to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
The group was referring to the provision which states that: In areas where there are sufficient supplies of COVID-19 vaccines as determined by the National Vaccines Operation Center (NVOC), all establishments and employers in the public and private sector shall require their eligible employees who are tasked to do on-site work to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
"Eligible employees who remain to be unvaccinated may not be terminated solely by reason thereof. However, they shall be required to undergo RT-PCR tests regularly at their own expense for purposes of on-site work. Provided that, antigen tests may be resorted to when RT-PCR capacity is insufficient or not immediately available."
In filing House Resolution 2373, the Makabayan bloc strongly urged President Rodrigo Duterte to repeal the said resolution requiring the mandatory vaccination for workers and instead prioritize the workers' health and well-being as economic frontliners amid the pandemic.
The bloc said aside from being illegal, mandatory vaccination is unethical especially if discrimination against the unvaccinated ensues. It added that requiring regular testing for unvaccinated workers at their own expense is also an additional burden for the workers.
"It is unfair and unjust for employers to continue imposing the 'no vaccine, no work policy,' the mandatory testing at the workers expense, and for DOLE to tolerate such violations of workers' rights, especially when one of the primary reasons cited by the DOH for the Philippines' low rank in COVID-19 resiliency is caused by vaccine shortage," the resolution read.
The bloc said the vaccine supply and administration should be addressed as well. It added that the Congress should stand with workers and and should uphold their rights.
"As economic frontliners, workers' health must be protected and prioritized so that they may continue to contribute to the recovery of our economy," the resolution said. — Anna Felicia Bajo/RSJ, GMA News