DOLE vaccine mandate for specific workers vital to economic revival — Concepcion

Published October 22, 2021, 4:07 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

A Palace official has asked the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) make vaccination against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) mandatory for specific workers.

(Mark Balmores/ File photo/ MANILA BULLETIN)

In his letter to DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III, Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion said that the mandatory vaccination of specific workers is intended to complement the government’s initiatives in saving lives and safely reviving the economy, especially the sectors that have been badly hit by the pandemic.

“We must protect the unvaccinated and protect all workers and jobs at all costs. If we require fully vaccinated customers in our businesses, the more reason we need to require labor-intensive workers and economic frontliners to be fully vaccinated too,” explained Concepcion.

In particular, the Go Negosyo founder proposed to DOLE the mandatory vaccination of those who interact directly with customers, also referred to as economic frontliners. These include those who work in the hospitality, tourism, restaurants, retail, and personal care services.

He also said that mandatory jabs should be given to those who engage in labor-intensive work such as in construction, automotive, wearables and manufacturing, electronic semiconductors and business process outsourcing (BPOs).

Bello thanked Concepcion for his initiative and told him that DOLE would study his suggestion.

Concepcion warned that although the rate of new COVID-19 cases has wanted, another surge may yet happen. “Therefore, it is important to maximize our resources and provide everyone the opportunity and access to get vaccinated,” he wrote.

“Why should we let the unvaccinated put at risk everything we have worked hard for? There are vaccinated people who wish to resume their normal activities and they have done their part. We should protect them and not let the sacrifices go to waste by backsliding into another surge,” he said.

The current local abundance of COVID-19 jabs has sparked public discussion on whether or not vaccination must be made mandatory in the country.

“I also want to thank Secretary Bello for being one with the private sector and supporting the industries’ continuous fight to ensure their businesses, employees, and customers are protected,” Concepcion added.

The Palace adviser is also the man behind “A Dose of Hope” program. This tripartite agreement, which paved the way for the private sector’s procurement of COVID-19 vaccines, has successfully inoculated around 1.3 million employees from more than 180 local government unit (LGUs).

“Through the same public-private initiative, we were also able to establish 63 shared vaccination sites nationwide and many more private vaccination sites for the inoculation of not only our employees but to other industry workers as well,” Concepcion said in his letter.

Concepcion has also pushed for the “Bakuna Bubble” strategy, which seeks to grant greater mobility to fully vaccinated persons within their homes and business communities.

He explained that the private sector is exerting vigorous efforts to mitigate the effects of the pandemic by reviving economic activities.

In addition to making sure their respective workers are vaccinated, some companies have even trained their own safety officers to follow DOLE’s advisory on health and safety protocols in the workplace.