MANILA— Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion on Saturday said he has recommended to the labor department mandatory vaccinations in labor-intensive sectors.
Concepcion said the risk of COVID-19 transmission is high in the sector, which includes business processing outsourcing (BPO) and semi-conductor firms.
“What I suggested to [Labor Secretary Silvestre] Bello dito sa mga lugar na [in sectors that are] labor intensive at mga frontliners, waiters, merchandisers dito sa mga [in] supermarkets, mga retail stores, close contact 'yan sa mga [they have close contact with] customers and they should be vaccinated,” said Concepcion.
In an interview on TeleRadyo, Concepcion said workers in restaurants, salons, spas, gyms and cinemas should be vaccinated.
“We are requiring all customers to be vaccinated. Kung isang waiter ay hindi bakunado at ayaw niyang magpabakuna anong magagawa ng isang may-ari ng restaurant? Nalulugi nga sila sa halos kadaming lockdown so ang mangyayari dito iuurong na lang siya sa backend of the operation at hindi tama 'yan,” said Concepcion.
(If a waiter is unvaccinated, what can the employer of a restaurant do? His business is already losing due to several lockdowns and he will just put that employee at the backend of the operation and that is not right.)
Concepcion said Bello also thinks that such requirement could be implemented but that it needs more clarity.
“The entire private sector, mga business organizations are supporting that move to give leeway to the owners of these restaurants... and even in the labor intensive sector, importante din 'yan (that's also important),” he said.
He added, “It would be good for IATF to really come out with a clear policy on this para at least yung may-ari ng mga negosyong ito [so that at least owners of these businesses] will be able to fulfill that part na keeping the business establishments safe.”
Meanwhile, Concepcion said he has yet to hear of any incident of employees denied of their salaries because they remained unvaccinated.
“At this point in time it is not legal to do something like that. I’ve not heard of any incident at 'yung percentage ng jabbing namin sa bakunang binili namin halos umaabot kami ng 90 to 100 percent sa private sector, so successful naman ang vaccine acceptance,” he said.
(The percentage of the private sector vaccination from the vaccines we purchased has reached almost 90 to 100 percent, so vaccine acceptance is successful.)
The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) said it has received reports of 12 food service workers who complained that they were not paid under a “no vaccine, no salary” scheme.
“There is a possibility na that the person applying for a job has not been accepted yet, if an employer sees that he is not vaccinated or that he doesn’t want to take the vaccine he can still refuse to hire him because he is not yet an employee. But the moment he’s an employee and he doesn’t want to take the bakuna [vaccine] he cannot terminate that employee,” he said.
DOLE has also issued a statement that it is illegal to withhold the salary of employees because they have not yet received vaccines against COVID-19.