Groups oppose Duterte’s statement on unvaccinated applicants

Employers can reject job applicants if they have not been against COVID-19.

In an interview with Teleradyo, Julie Ann Gutierrez of the Kilos na Manggagawa group said that President Rodrigo Duterte’s statement was against the law.

The lack of vaccine supply, especially in the provinces, he said, is the reason why many workers have not been vaccinated.

“Nakakalungkot na mismong presidente pa, naisip niya ‘yong karapatan ng employer pero hindi niya naisip ‘yong karapatang magtrabaho at mabuhay ng mga manggagawa,” said Gutierrez.

“Patuloy kaming nananawagan sa libreng bakuna, lalong-lalo na [para] sa mga manggagawa sa probinsiya na gusto nang makaluwas at makapagtrabaho,” she added.

The Federation of Free Workers (FFW) called for an understanding of the plight of workers.

Instead of being punished, he said, the workers should be helped.

“Hindi dapat ma-penalize ‘yong manggagawa. Sila na nga iyong naagrabyado, nahuli sa bigayan ng bakuna, sila pa ‘yong ‘di magkakaroon ulit ng trabaho,” said FFW Vice President Julius Cainglet.

The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines previously said that the Vaccination Program Act of 2021 states that the vaccine card should not be made an additional requirement at work.

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Groups oppose Duterte’s statement on unvaccinated applicants

Also, in an interview with Teleradyo, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello said that it is the decision of the employers who want to hire unvaccinated applicants.

But it is a different matter if the employee is already hired because employees who do not want to be cannot be fired, said Bello.

“‘Pag tinanggap mo na, naging empleyado mo na, hindi mo puwedeng sabihing magpabakuna ka kundi tatanggalin kita… Ilegal na po ‘yon kasi may security of tenure na ‘yong ating empleyado,” the secretary said.

In a speech issued on Tuesday, Duterte said that the dismissal of unvaccinated workers is illegal, but applicants who have not been against the disease can be rejected.

Duterte believes this is just a way for employers to protect their and current staff.

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