MANILA – Deputy Speaker Bernadette Herrera on Wednesday welcomed the Department of Health’s (DOH) plan to remove the “discriminatory” provision barring certain industries from procuring their own Covid-19 vaccines for their workers from the draft implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the Covid-19 Vaccination Program Act.
In a statement, Herrera said the discriminatory provision that would prevent access of manufacturers of tobacco, milk sugar, soft drinks, and alcohol to the life-saving vaccines will no longer be part of the draft IRR of Republic Act 11525.
“Thanks in advance to the members of the Vaccine Cluster of the National Task Force Against Covid-19 (NTF) for being reasonable, rational, and logical in removing such provision and in ensuring that everyone gets a vaccine,” she added.
Herrera cited Section 3, Paragraph 6 of the draft administrative order’s (AO) specific guidelines providing that: “The DOH, in its review, shall ensure that the tobacco, formula milk, and other industries in conflict with the interest of public health will not be part of this endeavor, pursuant to existing DOH guidelines and issuances.”
The draft AO would serve as the IRR for certain provisions of RA 11525.
“This is unfair to companies who are just trying to offer solutions and protect their employees as well as their dependents,” she said.
In its response, the DOH clarified that the contents of the draft IRR were based on recommendations coming from different stakeholders and that the NTF was still in the process of reconciling the proposed provisions with other existing laws and guidelines.
The DOH likewise assured that “any provisions that may be perceived to discriminate against any sector of the population from accessing Covid-19 vaccines are not considered in any policy, guideline, or protocol that shall be issued by this government.” (PNA)