Christmas bonus incentive for COVID jab is okay, says Roque

Published November 9, 2021, 3:45 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque finds nothing wrong with requiring employees to get vaccinated from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) before they could be given their Christmas bonus.

(Photos from Mark Balmores/ Unsplash)

“Wala po akong nakikitang pagkakamali dyan kasi Christmas bonus po ang pinag-uusapan. Hindi naman po requirement ng batas na magbigay ng Christmas bonus (I find nothing wrong with that since we’re talking about the Christmas bonus. The law doesn’t require the granting of Christmas bonus),” Roque said in a virtual press conference Tuesday, Nov. 9.

Roque was reacting to a case in Cebu City wherein COVID-19 vaccination was made a condition for the release of the P20,000 Christmas bonus to employees.

The Palace official diffentiated the Christmas bonus from the 13th month pay–both of which are usual holiday benefits given to local workers. However, only the latter is spelled out by law, while the former may or may not be given depending on the employer.

“Ang requirement po para sa mga taong-gobyerno ay 13th and 14th month pay (What’s required to be given to government employees is the 13th and 14th month pay),” he said.

“Dahil discretionary po ang Christmas bonus, pupwedeng gamitin po yan kabahagi ng incentive para makapagbuna ang mas marami sa atin (Because the Christmas bonus is discretionary, that may be used as part of the incentives to convince more people into getting the jab),” Roque said.

The country has vaccination rate of 38.64 percent as of Nov. 8, he said.

For the Philippines to achieve “population protection” from COVID-19, between 50 and 70 percent of Filipinos must be fully inoculated.