November 30, 2022

As expected, Covid-19 cases have increased.
In a press briefing held on Jan. 3, the Department of Health Usec. Maria Rosario Vergeire said the country is once again under a high-risk category. She announced there was 222 percent increase in cases which is even more than the steep rise during the height of the Delta variant surge last August 2021.
This trend, if not contained, is quite alarming. To think that we gained some measure of freedom against the virus, this setback is anomalous. We could have prevented this rise if only we were more prudent. Yet, we chose to have fun rather than safety.
To combat the rise of further infection, Metro Manila mayors have agreed to limit the activities and movements of unvaccinated individuals. Commencing immediately, residents of Metro Manila must present validated vaccination cards if they are to avail of private and public services. In some places like Iloilo City, the unvaccinated are not allowed to work unless they undergo periodic negative screening tests against the virus. These remedies are too steep a price to pay for people’s negligence.
As expected, there are constitutional issues regarding the measures being undertaken to combat the rise of Covid-19. Those whose movements are being restricted due to their being unvaccinated are crying “social discrimination.”
They lament the fact that once the unanimous ordinance limiting the interaction of unvaccinated people is implemented, they literally become isolated. They shall be treated as outcasts of society. Can we live with this scenario where some of our fellowmen are shunned or are excluded from the benefits of civilization? Is this undemocratic?
There is enough supply of vaccines to accommodate all qualified Filipinos. Yet, a minor percentage opts not to be vaccinated due to various reasons. Some do not want to be vaccinated because it is diverse to their religious beliefs while most do not want to be vaccinated because of fear. These reasons are selfish, to say the least.
Each and everyone’s existence is interdependent. In terms of health, all are connected. The safety of one depends on the health of another. Hence, the responsibility to get vaccinated is as much a personal protection as it is a protection for everybody. Can’t the unvaccinated see through that?
What about the constitutional constrictions? What about the freedom of choice and the freedom of religion and the freedom to be treated equally both in the benefits conferred and the liabilities imposed?
The freedom of choice and the freedom of religion yields to the general welfare clause which mandates that the aim of all laws, be it at the constitution or any other rule, for that matter, is for the benefit of the public.
The public, of course, refers to the majority. And when the welfare of the majority demands for mandatory vaccination, no amount of freedom of choice or freedom of religion or freedom to be treated equally can defeat it.
It is like defending the country against an outside aggressor. Enlistment is mandatory lest the nation perishes.
If enlistment is mandatory in military service, how much more when it involves the very survival of the Philippines? Must we wait for the unvaccinated to make up their minds and come to their senses? Must we be at their mercy because they are afraid to be vaccinated?
The plan to restrict the movements of unvaccinated should not only be on a local level. It should be national. We have had enough of the impertinence of the unvaccinated. They ought to realize that they are as much responsible for any surge as the virus that causes it.
If they want to remain safe, let them be treated in the manner that they deserve – alone and lonely.

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