MANILA - An employers' group on Friday slammed calls to mandate all business owners to shoulder the vaccination of all their workers against COVID-19, saying this would be an unjust policy for small businesses.
While big companies are already looking at shouldering the vaccination expense of their employees, it would be unfair to also impose the same obligation to small businesses that have been struggling to survive, Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) president Sergio Ortiz-Luiz told ABS-CBN News.
"'Yung maliliit na kompanya, eh hindi naman makatuwiran na 'yung trabaho ng gobyerno ipakakarga mo sa kanila, pagbabayarin mo ang dami-dami na ngang binabayaran," he said.
(It is unjust to require small companies to shoulder the responsibilities of the government, especilly when they are paying for so many already.)
"Unang-una, hindi naman lahat tayo gustong magpa-vaccine… 'yung iba nga natatakot magpa-vaccine," he said.
(In the first place, not everyone wants to be vaccinated... There are some who are scared to get a shot.)
Micro, small and medium enterprises make up 99 percent of businesses in the country, according to data from the Department of Trade and Industry.
Health experts earlier said that at least 60 percent of the population needs to be inoculated against COVID-19 to develop herd immunity against the highly-contagious virus.
The ECOP chief urged the government to prioritize the jumpstarting of the country’s economy rather than continuously "experimenting" on programs adding to the already heavy burden of the people.
"Marami pa ring kompanya ang hindi makapag-decide kung magtutuloy sila o magsasara," he said.
(A lot of companies remain undecided if they will continue to operate or just close shop.)
"Kailangan siguro medyo bilis-bilisan natin ang recovery dahil kapag hindi… marami ang mamamatay, magugutom," he said.
(I think we need to speed up our recovery because if we fail to do that... A lot of people will die and will experience hunger.)
One major factor that is slowing down economic recovery according to Ortiz-Luis, is the wrong focus of the government, including the automation of payment schemes in the transport sector.
"Pinasok 'yung Beep (card), pinasok 'yung RFID… sinasabi na namin, 'yang lahat ng 'yan saka na gawin 'yan. I-mobilize muna 'yung mass transportation," he said.
(They implemented the Beep card, the RFID... What we are saying is that all those things should be done later. They should first mobilize mass transportation.)
"Dapat 'yan, lahat nung eksperimento na 'yan, pati 'yung modernization ng jeep na 'yan… dapat 'yan back burner 'yan. Tapusin muna 'yang COVID... Huwag nilang isabay at ikatwiran 'yung COVID para magawa 'yun," he said.
(All those experiments, including the jeepney modernization... should be in the back burner. Let's get past COVID first... They should not use COVID as a reason to implement those policies.)