“No vax, no work” resolution unconstitutional
The Concerned Doctors and Citizens of the Philippines (CDC Ph) joins the growing public outcry for the withdrawal of the “No vax, no work” resolution by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.
CDC Ph opposes measures detailed in IATF Resolution 148-B that blatantly flout the constitutional rights of Filipinos and the laws of the country.
Requiring vaccination as a prerequisite to restoring to work on-site is a form of coercion depriving Filipinos of their constitutional right to make informed decisions about their personal health, the group said.
In the resolution, the IATF openly calls for all establishments and employers in the public and private sector to “require their eligible employees who are tasked to do on-site work to be vaccinated against Covid-19.”
Every Filipino has a constitutionally-protected right to make informed choices especially regarding decisions that directly affect their personal health and the well-being of their families and loved ones.
This measure being pushed by the IATF removes the ability of unvaccinated individuals to rejoin their workplace, and is thus a form of coercion that goes directly against the freedom to make informed health decisions.
Requiring unvaccinated individuals to be regularly tested at their own expense is a form of financial coercion.
The IATF resolution provides employers the authority to require unvaccinated employees “to undergo RT-PCR tests regularly at their own expense for purposes of on-site work.”
The costs of RT-PCR tests run in the thousands of pesos, and given the salary scales in the Philippines, a vast majority of unvaccinated workers cannot afford to shoulder additional expenses of this magnitude.
In effect, the IATF is using mandatory required testing as a financial cudgel to coerce unvaccinated workers to either take vaccines or face the prospect of financial ruin.
Depriving the unvaccinated access to establishments and services is a form of discrimination, which is expressly forbidden under the Constitution.
This IATF resolution encourages government agencies and public and private establishments to openly discriminate against unvaccinated individuals.
The IATF proposes at least three discriminatory, segregationist, and unconstitutional measures that provide vaccinated individuals with more liberties than their unvaccinated counterparts, specifically:
Allowing public and private establishments to “validly refuse entry and/or deny service to individuals who remain to be unvaccinated, or are merely partially vaccinated.”
Encouraging local government units to issue orders or ordinances “…requiring proof of vaccination before individuals and/or entities may undertake or qualify for certain activities.”
Enjoining all government agencies to implement measures prioritizing fully vaccinated individuals availing of government programs and services.”
A call to end unlawful policies targeted at the unvaccinated
The measures in this IATF resolution violate not only the constitution but also Department of Labor and Employment guidelines prohibiting companies from imposing no vaccine, no work policies.
Labor Advisory 03-21, released by DOLE in March last year, states that while employers may encourage employees to get vaccinated, “any employee who refuses or fails to be vaccinated shall not be discriminated against in terms of tenure, promotion, training, pay and other benefits, or terminated from employment. No vaccine, no work policy shall not be allowed.”
CDC Ph is calling for an end to policies and measures from the government that divide the Filipino people at a time when the nation must stand united to win the fight against COVID-19. (IRENE MANANSALA)