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Get vaccinated or resign

Republika

Threatening to invoke the police power of the state in the battle to contain the Covid19 virus that is running rampant in the country, President Duterte last week warned some 1.3 million state workers to get vaccinated or else resign from their respective jobs.


Mr. Duterte’s declaration comes in the wake of the announcement by health authorities that the vaccination of the general population, including minors, is slated to start later this month.


“Under the police power of the state, everybody can be compelled to be vaccinated,” he was quoted as saying during an online public address.
Unvaccinated individuals, Duterte maintained, are a “danger to society” because they are carriers of the deadly virus.


Sources intimated that the President is hell-bent in having all Filipinos vaccinated in order to speed up the overall recovery process of the Philippines, which has been hobbled by the pandemic.


But Mr. Duterte was contradicted in this regard by many of his own allies, including Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, who said Congress must pass a new law before Covid vaccinations can be made mandatory with the appropriate penalties.


However, Duterte isn’t alone in this campaign. Last month, US President Joe Biden signed an executive order mandating Covid19 vaccines for the entire federal workforce as well as government contractors.


“If you want to work with the federal government and do business with us, get vaccinated,” Biden said.


White House press secretary Jen Psaki said federal employees who fail to comply would face “progressive discipline” in accordance with government policies.


In New York City, the US Court of Appeals recently lifted a restraining order issued by a lower court on City Hall’s vaccine mandate for education department employees, effectively paving the way for expanding the scope of such mandate to its 330,000 workers.


Per NYC’s order, all school employees are required to get vaccinated or else be put on “unpaid leave.”


“Vaccinations are our strongest tool in the fight against Covid19, so this ruling is on the right side of the law as it will protect students and staff,” an official statement said.


Sec. Carlito Galvez, vaccine czar, had earlier recommended the vaccination program to include the general population, as well as 12 million people aged 12 to 17, since millions of jabs are expected to have arrived from abroad by then.


Galvez said that the country should receive some 100 million vaccine doses by the end of October, meaning the entire population can now get immunized.


Human Rights commissioner Leah Armamento cautioned the president against being too hasty in unilaterally mandating vaccinations for government workers because this would be a violation of their basic human rights.


“They have to be given due process,” she said, “so Duterte cannot just dictate the policy of the government regarding vaccinations in accordance with his wishes.”


As of the end of September, health officials said some 20.6 million Filipinos or about 27 percent of the population have been fully vaccinated, while 23.8 million are awaiting their second dose.


In Metro Manila, which is the nerve center of the nation, over seven million individuals, or 73 percent of the residents, have been fully vaccinated.

Photo: REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez


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