Tolentino: COVID-19 vaccination not a requisite for employment


PASAY CITY, Mar. 3 — To spare Filipinos from additional burden, Senator Francis “Tol” N. Tolentino ensured that COVID-19 vaccine cards, a key part of the National Vaccination Program, will not be considered a mandatory requirement in educational, employment, and similar government transaction purposes.

Section 12 of R.A. No. 11525, recently signed by President Duterte, provides that COVID-19 vaccine cards “shall not be considered as an additional mandatory requirement for education, employment, and other similar government transaction purposes.” Introduced by Senator Tolentino, this amendment proscribes discriminatory acts that may be directed against non-inoculated persons and which could lead to possible violations of basic human rights.

Tolentino introduced the anti-discriminatory amendment during the Senate deliberations on R.A. No. 11525. The Tolentino amendment safeguards students, regular employees, OFWs, and others from discrimination resulting from non-inoculation.

In guarding against possible prejudicial acts, the Tolentino amendment mandates that the COVID-19 vaccination should not be made a precondition for entitlement to necessary services or a basis for preferential acts. Hence, inoculation should not be a determinant whether a person is fit or unfit for work. Neither should it be made a prerequisite for acceptance in any educational institutions nor in the availment of government services.

Further, the Tolentino amendment allays the fear of organized labor groups, which appropriately oppose the adoption of a “no vaccine, no work” policy. Tolentino reiterates that R.A. No. 11525 does not consider COVID-19 inoculation as a prerequisite for either employment or to remain in one’s employ. He stresses that the recently enacted law does not authorize compelling employees to avail of company-sponsored vaccines without their free and informed consent.

Considering that inoculation is not legislated as mandatory in the country, the Tolentino amendment is a fair and just inclusion to the COVID-19 National Vaccination Program. (OSFT)