Making COVID-19 vaccination mandatory in PH is up to Congress — Palace
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Tuesday said that mandating the COVID-19 vaccination in the country is up to Congress.
“Kailangan po ng batas. Mas magkakaroon ng mandatory enforcement ‘pag mayroon pong batas mula sa Congress at mapirmahan ni Pangulong [Rodrigo] Duterte,” acting presidential spokesman and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said during the Laging Handa briefing.
(A law is needed. A mandatory enforcement would be in place if there is a law legislated in Congress which President Duterte will sign.)
“So, it is up to Congress to pass a law if they feel the need na kinakailangan nang magkaroon ng batas [to have a law] to make it mandatory,” he added.
In a bid to vaccinate people hesitant to get a COVID-19 jab, Duterte on Monday evening said that he is open to making inoculation mandatory, especially that there is a looming threat of the Omicron variant.
According to Nograles, while the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases is still discussing the mandatory vaccination, the government launched its three-day inoculation drive dubbed as “Bayanihan Bakunahan.”
“Habang wala pa ‘yang option na iyan, ito nga ‘yung ginagawa natin na massive rollout ng bakuna at ‘yung Bayanihan, Bakunahan na ginagawa po natin,” he said.
(While the option is not there yet, we are doing the massive rollout of vaccines, the Bayanihan, Bakunahan.)
“Hopefully, there might not be a need for that kung [if] realistically, on the ground, marami naman po ang nagpabakuna [many people are getting inoculated]. But then again, we also have to consider na mayroon itong bagong [that there is a new] variant of concern ‘yung [the] Omicron,” Nograles went on.
He further said that in discussing the matter, they are weighing the police power of the state and the public health and safety of Filipinos.
For his part, World Health Organization (WHO) Country Representative Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe said that they are not in favor of mandating vaccination as people should have the liberty.
“WHO has always taken the stance that we are not mandating vaccines. People should always be free to decide what’s best for them,” Abeyasinghe said at the Laging Handa briefing.
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