IBP wants inclusion of lawyers under A4 of gov’t vaccination priority list
MANILA, Philippines — The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) has asked the National Task Force Against COVID-19 (NTF) and the Inter-Agency Task Force against Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF- EID) to include lawyers in the A4 group of the government’s vaccination priority list.
IBP through its national president Domingo Egon Cayosa said in a letter dated March 30 that lawyers are working as frontline personnel since the start of the pandemic by “proactively supporting COVID-19 patients, health workers, and frontliners,” as well as through collaboration with government agencies and local government units in “educating the public about laws and ordinances pertaining to the pandemic.”
“More importantly, the presence of preferred counsel is constitutionally required especially for those charged with criminal offenses and lawyers are deemed essential officers of the court in their mandate to dispense justice, maintain peace and order, and safeguard public welfare under the rule of law,” Cayosa stressed.
He also said that a number of judges, prosecutors, and practicing lawyers have already died of COVID-19.
“The legal frontliners are particularly at risk and should be similarly protected,” Cayosa added.
Earlier, the NTF has recognized the more than 30,000 employees in the Judiciary as frontline workers performing essential duties in the time of the pandemic.
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