No jab, no job? Official says COVID-19 vaccination is voluntary
Participation in the COVID-19 inoculation drive is voluntary, a Malacañang official said on Thursday, denying a "no vaccine, no work" policy.
"Si Pangulong Duterte has always said na hindi tayo ipipilit itong vaccines sa ating mga kababayan. Walang pilitan 'yan," Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said in a press briefing.
(President Duterte has always said that we will not force these vaccines on our compatriots. That is not compulsory.)
Still, Duterte urges the public to voluntarily get vaccinated "without doubts."
The labor department said the supposed "no vaccine, no work" policy would be impractical because the Philippines does not have enough COVID-19 shots yet.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello said government plans to hold a dialogue with representatives of labor and employer groups regarding the matter.
"Walang legal basis 'yung kumakalat na kapag di ka na-vaccinated di ka pwedeng pumasok," said Bello in a Teleradyo interview Thursday.
"Ipapatawag ang representatives ng labor groups and employer groups para maging maliwanag."
The Employers Confederation of the Philippines denied that some companies were implementing such a policy.
Bello also clarified that private companies are not required to purchase vaccines for their employees.
"Walang obligation ang ating mga employer na bigyan ng vaccine ang kanilang manggagawa. Gobyerno po ang magbibigay ng vaccine," he said.
"Pero mayroong mga employer, na very charitable gaya ni Mr. (Ramon) Ang ng San Miguel, out of their own pockets they decide to help their workers. Bibili sila at ibibigay sa kanilang empleyado, OK 'yon. Makakatulong sa gobyerno."
The Philippines has secured 600,000 COVID-19 shots from Beijing-based Sinovac Biotech, and is set to receive later Thursday 487,200 doses of the coronavirus vaccine from Britain's AstraZeneca