The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) said workers should be among the first to receive inoculations against the COVID-19 virus.
TUCP Partylist Representative Raymond Democrito Mendoza said the government should prioritize the workers in the vaccination program as these are the people who are in high-traffic settings and interact with many other people on a daily basis.
“Vaccinating those who come into contact with the most people should be the priority, to prevent further spread of the disease,” he said in a statement in Wednesday.
TUCP said non-medical frontliners cannot be given enough recognition for the work that they have done so tirelessly during the pandemic.
“At a time when Filipinos were in crisis because unemployment was widespread and many were faced with exorbitant medical bills related to their COVID-19 treatment plans, it was the employees of the Department of Labor and Employment, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, Pag-IBIG, Social Security System, and PhilHealth among countless others who continued processing loan requests, reimbursements, and applications for financial aid,” Mendoza said.
“It was the employees of our local government units who delivered goods to their constituents during the lockdown, and they and many of our government frontliners deserve to be prioritized in the vaccination programs of the national government and local governments,” he added.
If these workers fall ill and the delivery of goods and services from the government is compromised, Mendoza said, there are no alternatives to perform the job and the last line of defense against the pandemic will have fallen.
“The entire nation depends on workers to revive the economy, and they cannot do that if they are not given protection against the ravages of disease. We are in agreement with Senator Joel Villanueva that workers are the priority, and the government needs to see that the vaccine is not just for our health, it is a vaccine against unemployment and recession. This vaccine will save jobs and save lives, and it should be given to those who are most at risk – the workers,” said Mendoza.
Earlier this month, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and minimum wage earners should be placed higher in the list of beneficiaries of the COVID-19 vaccines.
The labor chief proposed that OFWs and minimum wage earners be placed at level 5 or 6 in the list instead of 10 or 11.
Bello said OFWs deserve to be prioritized as they are considered the country’s “modern-day heroes” while minimum wage earners are the movers of the economy.