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DOLE to align policy on workers' vaccination with existing laws

Kristine Joy Patag - Philstar.com
DOLE to align policy on workers' vaccination with existing laws
Bobby Casimero, a Boracay-based tour guide, gets his first COVID-19 vaccine dose during the Ceremonial Vaccination of Boracay Tourism Frontliners activity held on Wednesday (July 7) at the Paradise Garden Resort Hotel and Convention Center.
DOT / released

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Labor and Employment would have to align its policy pronouncements on requiring vaccination of workers with existing laws amid opposition from various groups, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said Thursday.

In a message to reporters, Guevarra said the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases discussed the vaccination of workers at its meeting on October 26.

“I emphasized that the ‘COVID-19 vaccination Program Act of 2021’ was clear on the non-compulsory nature of vaccination as additional requirement for employment,” he said, referring to Republic Act 11525.

RA 11525 stands unless Congress amends or modifies it, the DOJ chief explained. “The DOLE duty note our advice and stated that it will align its policy pronouncements accordingly,” he added.

Section 12 of RA 11525 states that vaccine cards “shall not be considered as an additional mandatory requirement for education, employment and other similar government transaction purposes.”

Last week, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello cited the IATF resolution on the new alert level system for Metro Manila as a basis to require the vaccination of workers. Bello added that employers may freeze the salary of unvaccinated workers and even terminate them if they refuse to get the shot.

But Guevarra last weekend disagreed with Bello, arguing that the IATF resolution only provides that certain establishments can operate as long as their employees are all vaccinated. “This means that these establishments should encourage their staff or employees to get vaccinated, otherwise they may not be allowed to open for business,” Guevarra explained.

At the same time, labor groups said the government should not require vaccination for workers because many employees remain unvaccinated mainly due to tight supply of doses.

COVID-19 VACCINATION COVID-19 VACCINES DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT MENARDO GUEVARRA SILVESTRE BELLO III
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