Solon proposes mandatory COVID-19 jab; prison term for refusal

San Jose del Monte City Rep. Florida P. Robes on Wednesday, Sept. 22 filed a bill imposing a 30-day prison term for citizens who refuse to get COVID-19 vaccine despite being eligible for the jab.

Rep. Florida Robes, Lone District, San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan

Robes, chairperson of the House Committee on People Participation, filed House Bill No. 10249 making it mandatory for all Filipinos eligible to receive COVID 10 vaccines to get the jab.

The bill provides that all expenses for the Covid-19 vaccines shall be fully subsidized by the government.

HB 10249 also grants private companies to procure vaccines for their employees for free.

The bill provides for exemptions from the mandatory vaccination.

It exempts persons with conflicting religious belief and those with medical condition that would make vaccination detrimental to his/her health.

A medical certificate issued by a duly licensed physician is required for the latter exemption.

The legislative measure further provides an anti-discrimination clause which prohibits discrimination against those who refuse to get vaccinated for religious belief or health reason or cause the loss of their employment or enrollment in any educational institution.

Under the penalty provision of HB 10249 persons who refuse vaccination but do not have a valid reason for this decision face a 30 days imprisonment or a fine of P10,000 or both.

On the other hand, persons with full vaccination will be issued a vaccine pass as proof of vaccination status. The pass which may be used to access any public tourism resort, accommodation, assembly or amusement center.

Robes said the World Health Organization (WHO) has repeatedly declared that vaccines are one of the most effective tools for protecting people against COVID-19 and that it has postulated that it is not uncommon for governments and institutions to implement mandatory vaccination of Covid-19 and that it can be considered ethically justified in order to protect the health and well-being of the public.

She pointed out that the Philippines has also been implementing a mandatory vaccination program for infants and children.

“We have Republic Act 10152 which is an act providing for the mandatory basic immunization services for infants and children and Republic Act 7846 which requires compulsory immunization against Hepatitis-B for infants and children below eight (8) years old,” she explained.

“In the face of worldwide pandemic that is ravaging our country, it is crucial to implement a mandatory Covid-19 vaccination program for people who are eligible to get the vaccines in order to protect ourselves and our families but enable us to regain our economic foothold and resume our lives,” the administration lawmaker stressed.