MANILA — The government is studying calls to exempt overseas Filipino workers from a rule that bans the public from choosing the brand of their COVID-19 vaccines, Malacañang said on Thursday.
Palace spokesman Harry Roque confirmed this in response to reports that some countries may ban the entry of workers who took certain vaccine brands.
"Kung meron naman po talagang basehan at ito'y magiging pre-condition para sa hanapbuhay ng ating mga kababayan, may posibilidad po," Roque said in a press briefing.
(If there really is basis and this will be pre-condition to the livelihood of our compatriots, there is a possibility.)
"Pag-aaralan po. Ang sabi naman po ng Presidente, there may be a basis for the request," he added.
(It will be studied. The President has said anyway that there may be a basis for the request.)
The constitutional principle of equal protection of the law requires "all those similarly situated to be treated in the same manner." However, there could be exceptions if there is "genuine basis for distinction," said Roque, a lawyer.
President Rodrigo Duterte recently reiterated that Filipinos cannot choose the vaccine brand they would get from government.
He banned local authorities from announcing which vaccine would be available at an inoculation center so people won't choose where to get their jabs depending on the brand.
The Philippines has taken delivery of some 8.279 million COVID-19 shots. Authorities have administered at least 4.495 million of these doses nationwide, as of May 25.