Malacañang said that while President Duterte has not yet taken a position on the issue, the government has the authority to require vaccination against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as part of its police power.
Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque made the statement in his Monday presser after Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr. filed a bill that sought the mandatory inoculation of individuals “as may be determined” by the Department of Health (DOH).
However, he said this may not be the time to make vaccination against the said disease mandatory.
“Wala pa pong posisyon ang ating Presidente tungkol dito… Pero gayunpaman, bilang isang abogado po, kabahagi po ng police power ng Estado ang i-require ang bakuna kung talagang kinakailangan (The President has no position on this issue yet. But, even so, as a lawyer, part of the State’s police power is to require vaccination if needed),” he said.
“Sa ngayon naman po, mukhang hindi naman kinakailangang mandatory ‘yan dahil hinihintay pa natin ang bulto ng ating mga bakuna (For now, it seems to make it mandatory is not yet necessary since we are still waiting for the bulk of our vaccine orders),” he added.
Meanwhile, Roque said employers requiring COVID-19 vaccination before employment was not a cause for concern following reports that the private sector is considering making vaccination a requirement.
“Hindi naman po (It’s not a cause for concern),” he said.
“Sabi ko nga, hindi naman out of the question na talagang ang gobyerno mismo ang mag-require dahil kabahagi naman po ‘yan ng police power (As I said, the government making it a requirement is not out of the question since it is part of police power),” he added.
Roque said that if the private sector indeed decides to make COVID-19 vaccination a requirement in its companies and organizations, the public should respect its decision.
“Kung employers naman po ang magre-require niyan for continued employment, dapat galangin din natin ang desisyon ng mga employers (If employers will make it a requirement for continued employment, we should respect their decision),” he said.