Visayas business leaders join call for mandatory COVID-19 vaccination | Inquirer News
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PROTECTING THE POPULATION

Visayas business leaders join call for mandatory COVID-19 vaccination

/ 05:02 AM December 02, 2021

LONG WAIT: As the government ramps up the COVID-19 vaccination drive in the country this week, people troop to inoculation sites, like this one set up at Dagupan City National High School in Dagupan City, and wait in line to get their shots. Several business groups have supported the call for mandatory vaccination. (Photo by WILLIE LOMIBAO / Philippine Daily Inquirer)

CEBU CITY, Cebu, Philippines — Some business leaders in the Visayas said they were supporting proposals for the mandatory vaccination against COVID-19 as this would benefit all.

“This is something the business chamber will not object to. This is for the good of all. On the side of business, we want everyone to be vaccinated to protect each other from the coronavirus,” Felix Taguiam, president of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, told the Inquirer.

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Taguiam said the country could not afford to have another community lockdown, especially with the presence of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

“We do not want to close [our businesses] anymore. Probably, the majority of Filipinos had already been vaccinated against COVID-19. Why not finish it and let all Filipinos get inoculated?” he said.

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“The President has spoken. We need to follow as good citizens of the country. Let us follow what is required. This is for the benefit of everybody,” Taguiam added.

Invoking police power

In a meeting with Cabinet officials and health experts on Monday, President Duterte raised the possibility of compelling Filipinos to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Mr. Duterte said the government could invoke its police power to require the public to get vaccinated to protect the general population.

“I may agree with the task force if they decide to make it (vaccination) mandatory. It’s for public health. Now, if you do not want to be vaccinated, then do not go out,” he said.

Eugene Tan, president of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry-Tacloban Leyte chapter, said making vaccination mandatory would not only be advantageous to them but also to their families and coworkers.

“While we have to take into account that getting vaccination is one’s right, we have also to consider its disadvantages, like spreading the infection to one’s coworkers,” Tan said.

For one, if a worker gets infected, he or she will not only spread the virus among other workers but will also cause the temporary closure of the establishment where he or she is employed, he said.

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Tan, whose family owns a hotel and runs a franchise of a food chain, said he had ordered all his workers to get vaccinated.

“Some establishments even do not provide any financial help to their workers who refuse to take the vaccines. Some also do not hire those who are unvaccinated,” he said.

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