House panel recommends suspension of 'No Vaccine, No Work', 'No Vaccine, No Pay' policies

Published December 1, 2021, 3:54 PM

by Melvin Sarangay

The House of Representatives Committee on Labor and Employment, under its chairman 1-Pacman Partylist Rep. Enrico Pineda, has recommended the suspension of the ‘No Vaccine, No Work’ and ‘No Vaccine, No Pay’ policies introduced by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Wednesday, Dec. 1.

The committee deliberated on House Resolutions 2210 and 2309 on the illegal implementation of ‘No Vaccine, No Work’, ‘No Vaccine, No Pay’ policies in private establishments and government offices introduced by Bayan Muna Rep. Ferdinand Gaite.

The Makabayan bloc lawmaker filed the Lower House resolutions to question the the implementation of IATF resolutions 148B and 149.

ACTS Teachers Partylist Rep. France Castro in her manifestation called the “No Vaccine, No Work” policy illegal and unconstitutional since it violates the rights of workers.

Committee vice-chairman and Baguio City Rep. Mark Go, on the other hand, noted the need for workers to get vaccinated so that they will be protected from COVID-19 and keep their fellow workers protected as well.

House panel vice-chairman and TUCP Partylist Rep. Raymond Mendoza called for the suspension of the IATF resolutions since it is causing confusion in the labor and employment sector.

Resource speakers from the said sector also aired their opposition to the IATF policies during the hearing.

The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP), represented by its vice-president Luis Corral, called the IATF resolution a ‘bad policy’ and said that it should be modified. He also called for the ‘voluntary’ vaccination of both private and government employees.

“It should be a matter of personal choice and it should be voluntary. The government must also shoulder the RT-PCR Test and Antigen Test of its workers,” Corral pointed out.

Concerned Doctors and Citizens of the Philippines (CDC Ph) founding member Francis Abraham said that workers should not be forced against their will to be vaccinated.

Dr. Camille Cruzada of the Institute for Occupational Health and Safety Development (IOHSAD), on the other hand, called on the government to provide free, accessible and timely testing for workers and increase the capacity of the health care system.

Kamz Deligente of the Center for Trade Union and Human Rights (CTUHR) and Anna Patricia Santos of the Crispin B. Beltran Resource Center (CBBRC) were one in their call to junk the IATF policies which they considered as unclear and puts an added burden to workers.

The Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP), meanwhile, emphasized the need for the vaccination of workers to ensure protection from COVID-19 in the workplace.

The committee at the conclusion of the hearing approved the recommendation to suspend the implementation of the IATF resolutions.

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