By Tracy Cabrera
MANILA — With some still hesitant to receive their Covid-19 vaccine shots despite the millions who have already completed their doses, former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Guillermo Lorenzo Tolentino Eleazar expressed misgivings over a proposal to make vaccination mandatory among the citizenry, particularly the working class.
According to the retired police general, who is running for senator under Partido Reporma in the 2022 national and local elections, instead of making vaccination mandatory, giving incentives and intensifying the information campaign about the importance of vaccination would be a better move in order to encourage our workers to get anti-Covid-19 shots.
“Tungkulin ng ating pamahalaan na kuhanin ang kumpiyansa at tiwala ng publiko sa pagpapabakuna laban sa Covid-19. Kung ako ang tatanungin, mas epektibo kung magbibigay ng insentibo ang mga ahensya ng gobyerno upang mahikayat ang mga empleyado o manggagawa na magpabakuna,” Eleazar pointed out.
“Karapatan ng bawat Pilipino kung ayaw talaga nilang magpabakuna. Subalit sa sitwasyon natin ngayon na ito ang pangunahing proteksyon laban sa COVID-19, mas kailangang pagtuunan ng pansin ang pagpapakalat ng tamang impormasyon tungkol sa bakuna upang hindi matakot o magduda ang mga tao,” he added.
In addition, the senatorial aspirant from Tagcawayan, Quezon said that government offices should come up with their own ways on how they can give incentives to their employees, just like what some private firms and groups and even a number of local government units (LGUs) have done wherein they distributed sacks of rice or grocery items while some gave away prices in raffles for those who had themselves inoculated.
Prior to this, the Makabayan Bloc in the House of Representatives has initiated moves to repeal Resolution 148-B of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) that requires workers who are tasked to report for work to get vaccinated against Covid-19, noting that aside from being illegal, mandatory vaccination is unethical especially if discrimination against the unvaccinated ensues.
With regards to this concern, however, the Civil Service Commission (CSC) has already started the process of finalizing a policy guide for treating unvaccinated workers which government agencies and the private sector should follow. (ai/mtvn)