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‘Napapanahon na’: Vaccine czar Galvez reiterates support for mandatory COVID-19 jabs

By AYIE LICSI Published Nov 08, 2021 1:02 pm

Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. reiterated that it is time to make COVID-19 vaccines mandatory during the Laging Handa press briefing on Nov. 8.

"Napapanahon na para i-mandate ang vaccination. 'Di tayo makakalagpas sa pandemiyang ito hanggang sa hindi lahat nababakunahan," the National Task Force against COVID-19 chief implementer said.

Galvez likened the push for mandatory vaccination to prohibiting smoking in public and to forced evacuation scenarios during typhoons.

"Gusto natin na mabakunahan ang lahat para ligtas sila, ang kanilang pamilya, at ang ating pamayanan sa mga tinatawag nating serious at fatal death na pwedeng mangyari," he said.

Galvez also defended the Department of Interior and Local Government's (DILG) "no vaccine, no subsidy" policy, which would withhold ayuda from the recipients of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) from those unvaccinated against COVID-19.

"'Yung 4Ps po, pwede nating i-delay ‘yan, di natin i-fo-forfeit. Once nabakunahan siya, ibibigay po natin 'yan," he said.

This DILG proposal was slammed by the Senate for being anti-poor.

“Ang mga ganitong panukala ay hindi makatutulong sa mga mahihirap. Walang kundisyon sa 4Ps law na kailangang COVID-19 vaccinated ang recipients kaya dapat igalang at irespeto ng ating mga opisyal ang desisyon ng sinuman ukol sa pagbabakuna," Sen. Risa Hontiveros said in a statement.

Meanwhile, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said that the proposed policy is "valid" but that RA 11310, the 4Ps law, needs to be amended first. 

"Tingin ko po pwede naman po i-require yan sa 4Ps pero kailangan amyendahan ang batas. Ang batas ang nagsasabi sino ang entitled sa 4Ps," he said during a press briefing. "Sa tingin ko naman po ay balidong dahilan ang i-require ang vaccination kapalit ang pagtatanggap ng 4P benefits."