Palace: No need for mandatory COVID-19 vaccination law just yet
MANILA, Philippines — There is no need for a law to require Filipinos to get vaccinated against COVID-19 just yet as supplies have just started coming in bulk in the country, Malacañang said Thursday.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said many Filipinos want to get inoculated, and the supply will be focused on them.
“Right now, because the supply has just arrived, let’s see because I think the level of individuals who want to be vaccinated is already very high so baka hindi pa naman kinakailangan [ng batas] sa ngayon,” he said in a Palace briefing.
(Maybe we don’t need a law mandating Filipinos to get vaccinated just yet.)
“Napakadami ang gustong mabakunahan since nandyan na ang supply, ubusin muna natin ‘yung gustong mabakunahan bago pag-isipan yung pagpasa ng batas para maging mandatory ang pagbabakuna,” he added.
(Many individuals want to get vaccinated and now that the supply is here, we should vaccinate them first before we consider passing a law to make COVID-19 vaccination mandatory.)
However, Roque said it is still up to Congress if it wants to pass a law for mandatory vaccination.
A lawmaker in the House of Representatives wants to make COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for all eligible Filipinos and those who refuse shall be penalized with imprisonment or a P10,000 fine.
Under House Bill No. 10249 or the “Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccination Act,” San Jose Del Monte City Rep. Rida Robes said all Filipinos shall be vaccinated except persons with “conflicting religious belief or with medical condition that would make vaccination detrimental to his/her health as certified by a duly licensed physician.”
Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr. earlier filed a similar bill, House Bill No. 9252, which seeks to amend the COVID-19 Vaccination Program Act of 2021 to make mandatory the inoculation of individuals “as may be determined” by the Department of Health (DOH).
Meanwhile, Justice Secretary Menardo Gueverra has said that local government units can exercise its police power and compel residents to get vaccinated against COVID-19 even without a national law.
However, he said this may still be challenged in court.
So far, over 23.7 million Filipinos are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 while 27.1 million have received at least one dose of the vaccine.
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