MANILA - Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Wednesday said he supports the mandatory vaccination of Filipinos against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
"Yes, it should be mandatory. Everyone should contribute to the health of the community. Those unvaccinated are vulnerable (to) getting the virus and getting seriously sick," Lorenzana, who is also chairperson of the National Task Force Against Covid-19, told reporters when asked on his opinion on the measure.
Aside from burdening the state by their hospitalization, Lorenzana said unvaccinated people also contribute to the spread of infections.
While admitting that mandatory vaccination is difficult without an enabling law, the DND chief said the government can impose restrictions on the unvaccinated.
These include preventing them from entering public places unless they have an updated RT-PCR (reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction) test.
"Mahirap kung walang batas (It is difficult without an enabling law) However, we can impose restrictions to unvaccinated people, like disallow(ing) from entering public places (malls, restaurants, stadiums) unless they have an RT-PCR taken not more than 72 hours, (while) workers (who refused to be vaccinated) will also (be required to have an) RT-PCR every week at their expense to be able to go to work," Lorenzana said.
Aside from these measures, unvaccinated people can also be prevented from traveling.
Starting Wednesday, the vaccination of eligible employees who are doing on-site work in both the public and private sectors is required in areas where there are sufficient vaccine supplies.
The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), in Resolution No. 148-B, provides measures to increase demand for Covid-19 vaccinations but except when all the onsite employees/workers of an establishment are required under the Alert Level System Guidelines to be fully vaccinated.
Asked if President Rodrigo R. Duterte can issue an Executive Order (EO), Lorenzana said he had no idea but local government units (LGUs) can craft their own ordinances concerning mandatory vaccinations.
"I don't know if PRRD will issue an EO. But (Department of Interior and Local Government) Secretary (Eduardo) Ano said the LGUs can make their own ordinances. That would be the best solution now. Example: (Narvacan) Mayor Chavit Singson (don't) allow unvaccinated people from the barangays to come to town except to get vaccinated first. He also requires everyone in the Poblacion to get inoculated," he added. (PNA)