Villanueva: Vax mandate on state aid recipients will penalize ‘jabless jobless’

Villanueva: Vax mandate on state aid recipients will penalize ‘jabless jobless’

By Ernie Reyes

MANILA — Any proposal to write into the 2022 National Budget a
provision making COVID-19 vaccination a requisite for receiving Department
of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) aid such the 4Ps stipend will penalize
the “jabless jobless,” Senator Joel Villanueva said.

“Kung mayroon man pong ganoon na panukala, I think it will be dead on
arrival in the Senate,” said Villanueva, chairman of the Senate labor
committee.

“At this time vaccination status should not be a factor in the grant
or denial of state services to those who needed them most,” Villanueva
said.

He said it is still premature to impose “a vaccination mandate on
welfare recipients” when the Philippines has yet “to reach the
midpoint of our target number of citizens to be vaccinated.”

“Kung kulang pa rin po ang bakuna at hindi pa po ito nakakaabot sa
lahat, then we should not deny dole outs to vaccine holdouts,”
Villanueva said.

According to DOH’s tally of COVID-19 jabs as of Nov. 6, a total of
32,402,150 have already received the first dose while 29,331,626 have
gotten the second.

The fully vaccinated accounts for only 38.3% of the 76 million target
individuals who constitute 70% of the total population.

“Kung isasama pa po ang 12 to 17 age group, mas malaki ang populasyon
na dapat mabigyan ng bakuna, at malayo pa nating maabot ito,”
Villanueva said.

He believes that vaccination remains a “supply and accessibility
issue” more than a problem of “willful resistance.”

“Yung mga kababayan po natin na nasa socio-economic class E na mga
kliyente ng DSWD ay nasa probinsya, o homeless, o kaya walang digital
device o know-how on how to register online for vaccination shots,” he
said.

Villanueva urged DSWD to use “community peer pressure” by tapping
vaccinated 4Ps members in convincing their neighbors to drop their
vaccine hesitancy.

“DSWD clients are organized. These are the ‘social platforms’ that are
the best conduits of pro-vaccine information,” he said.

Villanueva also called on DSWD to use its communications, advertising
and printing budget of about P355 million for 2022 to fund an
“education and information” campaign that will address concerns of
“people under their sphere of influence.”

For 2022, the DSWD is asking for P115.67 billion to fund the 4Ps
program with a target 4.4 million household beneficiaries.

It will also serve 3,835,066 seniors under the Social Pension for
Indigent Senior Citizens program that has a proposed budget of P23.5
billion.

Among the programs lined up for 20202 are the Supplemental Feed
Program for Children (P4.16 billion); Sustainable Livelihood Program
(P4.86 billion); KALAHI-CIDSS (P11.1 billion); Disaster Response and
Rehabilitation Program (P2 billion); and Services for Center-Based
Clients (P2 billion)

The DSWD has a proposed budget of P191.4 billion for 2022, up by P14.6
billion from the current P176.8 billion. (ai/mtvn)

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