Duterte: Employers have legal right to refuse unvaxxed applicants

Maris Federez   •   November 10, 2021   •   261

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte stood in defense of employers saying they have the right to refuse to hire unvaccinated applicants amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The president believes employers are just protecting their businesses and other people against the threat of the infectious disease.

“You have the right to refuse or to accept as an employee somebody who is not vaccinated and will go and join the rest of employees and the factory or the place or whatever you have as your business [then] this guy would start to contaminate everybody,” Duterte said in his weekly address, Talk to the People, aired Tuesday night.

“I think it’s legal for the employers not to accept people who are not vaccinated. Tama sila (They are right). I agree with them,” he also said.

However, the President clarified that it would be illegal to fire employees who refuse to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

“Kung nandiyan ka na sa trabaho mo at ayaw mong magpabakuna, well, that is too bad for the employer. Sabi ng mga labor lawyers, hindi puwede ‘yang paalisin mo kung ayaw magpabakuna. That would be a violation of the law, and I think I agree with it,” he said.

Duterte has also ordered the speeding up of the vaccination program and exerting all means to achieve population protection before the end of the year.

He tapped the National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) for this task.

The president further encouraged the public to grab the chance to be protected from the disease, noting that vaccines would help lessen the severe impacts of the dreaded virus. —/mbmf

Loan application para sa 13th month pay budget ng MSMEs, pinalawig – DOLE

Robie de Guzman   •   December 13, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Maaari pa ring mag apply ng loan ang micro at small enterprises (MSME) na nahihirapang magbigay ng 13th month pay sa kanilang empleyado dahil sa epekto ng COVID-19 pandemic, ayon sa Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

Ayon kay DOLE director Rolly Francia, pinalawig ng SB Corporation ng Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) ang deadline sa pagsusumite ng aplikasyon hanggang sa Disyembre 21.

Ang SB Corp. ay ang financing arm ng DTI.

Sa ilalim ng programa, maaaring umutang ang MSMEs ng hanggang P12,000 para sa 13th month pay ng bawat empleyado.

Paalala ng DOLE, walang ipinapataw na interes at collateral fee ang nasabing loan program.

Maaari itong bayaran sa loob ng isang taon at may tatlong buwang grace period.

“Kami po ay nananawagan sa mga micro and small business enterprises to avail of this loan facility mula sa Small Business (SB) Corporation ng DTI,” ani Francia.

“Ang qualified po dito ang mga kumpanya na maliliit na enterpresa na naka-rehistro sa Department of Labor na ang kanilang manggagawa ay isinailalim sa work from home or rotation at iba pang sistema as of October 2021,” dagdag pa niya.

Sa ngayon ay nasa 865 na MSMEs na ang nakapagsumite ng kanilang aplikasyon para sa loan. (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Aileen Cerrudo)

No shortage of syringe supplies for COVID vaccination rollout — DOH, NTF

Maris Federez   •   December 12, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) and the National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19 have ensured that there are enough supplies of syringes – both 0.3ml syringes (microsyringes) that are compatible with Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines, and 0.5ml auto-disable (AD) syringes for all other vaccines.

In a statement, the DOH and the NTF on Sunday (December 12) said that the syringes were procured in two batches through UNICEF.

The first batch was composed of 8 million 0.3ml syringes worth Php29.1 million which were completely delivered last October 2021. Funding for this came from the savings from CY 2020 UNICEF procurement.

The second batch, consisting of 44 million syringes amounting to about Php152.6 million, was financed through the Asian Development Bank.

“Of this second batch, 4 million will be delivered in December 2021 and remaining 40 million during the first quarter of 2022 due to global supply shortage,” the statement further said.

The country has, so far, received 3,653,000 of the said 4 million syringes.  The rest, the statement said, is expected to arrive this coming week.

The two batches of the said 0.3 syringes totaling 52 million pieces cost around Php3.25 per piece or USD 6.5 cents (Php50 = USD 1), including the cost for logistics.

“Even with the delays in delivery of microsyringes, we made sure that we can still administer the Pfizer vaccines that we procured by using tuberculin syringes. The government together with LGUs and the private sector is working hard to increase our vaccine coverage to protect more Filipinos against COVID-19. Through our Bayanihan, we achieved 2.82 million jabs in one day,” said Secretary Vivencio “Vince” Dizon, Presidential Adviser on COVID-19 Response.

The DOH added that it has also purchased 100 million pieces of 0.5ml AD syringes last April 2021 for Php2.38 per piece, from an initial approved budget of Php2.50 per piece.

“We are continuously ensuring enough supplies of syringes for our COVID-19 vaccination program – noting that 0.3ml syringes are different from 0.5ml syringes, and as such would have varying prices. We assure the public that the DOH is continuously ensuring a sufficient stockpile of syringes and that processes to obtain these are consistent with the provisions of RA 9184 or the Government Procurement Act,” said Atty. Charade Mercado-Grande, Undersecretary of the Health Regulation Team. —/mbmf

PH gov’t eyeing to administer 7 million COVID-19 jabs in second vaccination drive

Robie de Guzman   •   December 7, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government is aiming to administer seven million COVID-19 vaccine jabs for the second round of nationwide vaccination drive, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said Tuesday.

The second mass immunization campaign is scheduled from December 15 to 17.

“Ang tina-target natin dito, mga 7 million para second dose, para maabot yung ating pinupuntiryang 54 million by the end of the year na bigyan ng kumpletong bakuna,” Duque said in a televised public briefing.

This target is lower than the first vaccination drive conducted last November 29 to December 1 and later extended until December 3.

The government had hoped to inoculate 9 million people during the first three-day immunization campaign. More than 10 million were vaccinated in the extended drive.

The vaccination drive was launched in a bid to scale up the country’s vaccination rate to achieve population protection against COVID-19.

So far, more than 38 million Filipinos have been fully vaccinated out of the 91.7 million doses administered since the immunization was rolled out in March.

The number of individuals who have received their first dose rose to 56.7 million.

The government is aiming to fully vaccinate at least 54 million by the end of the year.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier expressed hope that the second vaccination drive will also be successful.

“We will have a second round of Bayanihan Bakunahan from December 15 to 17. I hope that we would have the same success. But this time lesser because parang naubos na natin ang Pilipino sa ‘yung what counts sa bakuna kaya medyo there’s a slowdown of the COVID-19,” he said.

He also expressed optimism that the Philippines will be able to overcome the pandemic amid increasing vaccination rate in the country.


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