Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas intends to issue an executive order necessitating all employees working in the region to get fully inoculated before being allowed to work.
In a statement he posted on Facebook, he said: “I would like to make it clear, the ‘no vaccine, no work policy’ is being put into the table only for discussion.”
He also clarified that its implementation ultimately lay with the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).
The mayor further added that this order was not meant to force vaccination on those who did not wish to receive it, “But we appeal for your cooperation for the safety of everyone,” he said. Malacañang echoed this statement but maintained that they strongly advise vaccination for those who are eligible.
Treñas earlier brought up mandatory vaccination in an effort to achieve herd immunity within the local population. Due to this, the Commission on Human Rights stepped in and expressed concern over possible violation of individual rights.
“There should be a holistic view on ensuring vaccination and respecting the various human rights,” said Jonnie Dabuco, a lawyer and director of CHR Western Visayas. He also emphasized that such a policy that impacts employees’ job security was a potential labor issue.
Herd immunity, in which the majority of people in a community are vaccinated so that the risk of transmission is significantly lower, helps protect vulnerable populations.
The local government had set aside P200 million to purchase vaccines and plans to jab 300,000 residents as well as 100,000 non-residents who are employed in the city.
Iloilo City also previously entered into a tripartite deal with national gov’t and British drugmaker AstraZeneca for 600,000 doses for residents and 200,000 doses for non-residents.
Workers refusing vaccine can’t be fired
Workers who refuse to be vaccinated cannot be terminated from their job, according to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
“A worker’s refusal to get the vaccine is not a ground for termination,” according to DOLE Sec. Silvestre Bello III.
Bello explained there is no legal basis for an employer to require a worker to get vaccinated, especially if it isn’t a vaccine brand he trusts, prior to entering the workplace.
Bello said the DOLE will be issuing a directive to companies against “mandatory vaccination” to address the issue raised by the Associated Labor Union (ALU).
The ALU earlier denounced the “no vaccination, no work” policy being enforced by some companies.