Labor Secretary Silvestre “Bebot” Bello III (Val Leonardo/BC/ai/mtvn)
By: Rjhay E. Laurea
Labor Secretary Silvestre “Bebot” Bello III reminded employers not to force their employees to get vaccinated in accordance with his previous advisory issued more than four months ago.
Bello signed Labor Advisory No. 3, Series of 2021 last March 12, 2021, where he directed employers that there should be no discrimination for employees who don’t want to be vaccinated or failed to be vaccinated.
“Hindi mo puwede pilitin ang mga manggagawa na magpabakuna kung ayaw nila. Unang una, wala namang bakuna. So being vaccinated is a matter of choice. You cannot force anybody to be vaccinated kung ayaw niya, (You cannot force workers to be vaccinated if they don’t want to. First of all, we don’t have vaccines. So being vaccinated is a matter of choice. You cannot force anybody to be vaccinated if they don’t want it),” Secretary Bello explained.
The Labor chief was asked about the matter during the Awarding Ceremony of Safety Seal Certification to Unilever Philippines, Inc. after some netizens reacted to employers who required or make it mandatory for their employees to be vaccinated despite the issued directive from DOLE prohibiting the “no vaccine, no work” policy.
“You can’t discriminate against an unvaccinated employee. Kung ayaw niyang magpa-vaccine, hindi mo siya puwede tanggalin, (You can’t discriminate against an unvaccinated employee. If he/she doesn’t want to be vaccinated you can’t terminate him/her),” Bello added.
He said the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) offices enforce these guidelines to provide the appropriate encouragement for covered establishments and ease their compliance.
Covered establishments may acquire COVID-19 vaccines and supplies, also they are allowed to seek help from the national government for transport and distribution of the vaccines.
Vaccinations in the workplaces were implemented for their occupational work by the Department of Health (DOH) in accordance with the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) existing laws, rules, and regulations.
Instead of forcing the employees, Bello said employers should encourage them to have themselves inoculated for their own safety and protection.
According to Bello’s advisory, no employee shall be terminated from training, promotion, pay, and other benefits from the covered establishments just because he/she is not vaccinated. (AI/MTVN)