Iloilo City council OKs ordinance imposing restrictions on those unvaccinated | Inquirer News
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Iloilo City council OKs ordinance imposing restrictions on those unvaccinated

05:04 AM January 20, 2022

THEIR CHOICE: Members of different groups in Iloilo City stage a protest in front of City Hall to voice their opposition to an ordinance mandating stringent restrictions on movement and access to services, offices, and establishments for unvaccinated residents. (Photo courtesy of ALTERMIDYA PANAY)

ILOILO CITY, Iloilo, Philippines — The city council on Tuesday unanimously approved a COVID-19 ordinance imposing stringent restrictions on movement and access to services of unvaccinated people.

But different groups in the city are opposing the measure that they see as a violation of individual rights as this will impose mandatory vaccination on the population.

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The ordinance, which is awaiting Mayor Jerry Treñas’ signature, restricts all those who have not completed the required vaccine dosage to their residences except to procure essential goods and to avail of essential services.

Private establishments may also prohibit unvaccinated people from entering their premises. Employees who are unvaccinated will be required to undergo a swab test every two weeks at their own expense and present a negative test result before being allowed to report in their workplaces.

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Those who are unvaccinated due to medical and religious reasons are required to present a certificate issued by their district medical officer, their pastor, or parish priest.

The restrictions, however, will be implemented only when the city is under COVID-19 alert level 3 or higher.

The ordinance penalizes violators with a fine of P500 and/or four hours of community service for the first offense; P1,000 and/or eight hours of community service for the second offense; and P3,000 and/or 24 hours of community service for the third and succeeding violations. Business establishments that violate the ordinance will also be fined or ordered closed.

Focus on prevention

Lawyer Peter Mallari of the city legal office said the ordinance was intended to protect the general public welfare.

In a position paper, the Alliance Against Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccination stressed that the ordinance effectively imposed mandatory vaccination that would violate an individual’s right to choose and decide for oneself, especially on matters related to health.

The alliance — composed of, among others, doctors, lawyers, teachers, and members of religious groups — said it was not against voluntary vaccination but any government immunization drive should not be “discriminatory and oppressive.”

The alliance also recommended that the focus should be on prevention of infection along with home care for mild cases which comprised the bulk of COVID-19 cases.

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In a separate position paper, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan in Panay and Panay Alliance Karapatan said the ordinance was “outright discriminatory, tyrannical, illogical and will violate human rights.”

The measure “discriminates against people who have opted not to get vaccinated due to medical, religious, and personal circumstances.

The right to health of every individual enshrined in the Constitution clearly provides for the protection of every citizen, regardless of socioeconomic and political status,” they said.

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