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Opinion

The hullabaloo over mandatory vaccination

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According to John Stuart Mill, an English philosopher and political economist, actions that lead to people's happiness are right and that those that lead to suffering are wrong. He also pointed out that the sole ground for the use of state coercion (and restriction of liberty) is when one individual risks harming others.

Malacañang made an announcement last Friday, November 12, 2021, in a taped video that COVID-19 vaccines were now required for employees doing on-site work. It has brought mixed emotions among those citizens who are not ready to get the vaccines, yet must report to work to sustain the needs of their families. Though Malacañang made clear that eligible employees who remain to be unvaccinated may not be terminated but they shall be required to undergo regular RT-PCR testing, or antigen tests, at their own expense, still this was where the hullabaloo started. People have different opinions on the same subject and their interpretations are based on their beliefs.

The Bill of Rights, Section 1 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution states that no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the laws. Those people who are still hesitant to have these COVID–19 vaccines have claimed the constitutionality of their beliefs pursuant to Section 1. Some still argue that this disease has not entered the “grave” range that would warrant mandatory vaccination.

To the contrary, the Philippine Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases has considered COVID–19 a grave threat to public health. There have been over millions of deaths attributed to COVID-19 globally according to the recent data of World Health Organization. These data are enough evidence that the fatality rate of COVID–19 is a grave public health emergency where it is likely to employ mandatory vaccination.

For us to be without the right to life is to deny the truth that we are alive; that we are a part of life; that our life matters. Liberty is the state of being free of unnecessary restrictions; being free to make our own choices; being free to experience our own life. The recent news over mandatory vaccination may lead to two significant effects to our lives; the right to life based on our own choices and free of unnecessary restrictions, and the right to live without sacrificing another’s life. The law shall protect everyone’s right to life since without the right to life, it is impossible to enjoy the other rights. The Constitution guarantees the life and personal liberty to all persons. It guarantees the right of persons to life with human dignity. Therein are included, all the aspects of life which go to make a person's life meaningful, complete, and worth living.

Right to life and personal liberty is not only a fundamental right but also a right by virtue of being human that enable human beings to get through a life that is different from mere animal existence. Are the good reasons to vaccinate mandatory or payment for risk? Well, then, it is up to us to weigh.

Jeanah Delima – Borgonia school principal,

Carmen Elementary School Carmen,

Toledo City

COVID-19

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