Eddie Villanueva

‘No vax, no pay uncompassionate’

October 21, 2021 Ryan Ponce Pacpaco 305 views

CITING recent reports of employers unlawfully withholding the salary of their unvaccinated employees, Deputy Speaker for Good Governance and Moral Uprightness and Citizens’ Battle Against Corruption (CIBAC) party-list Rep. Eduardo “Bro. Eddie” Villanueva on Thursday said such practice is not only illegal but also uncompassionate and borders on unconstitutionality.

“While it has been made clear by DoLE (Department of Labor and Employment) itself that ‘no vaccine, no pay’ is illegal, I would like to add that, more importantly, such policy is devoid of compassion. Depriving laborers of salary they rightfully earned with sweat and blood is a spit on the face of human dignity and the dignity of work. CIBAC condemns the unlawful and ungodly practice, which must be publicly censured and stopped at this early stage of its emergence among a few companies,” Villanueva said.

Villanueva acknowledged the necessity of vaccines in minimizing the impact of coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) to the country’s pandemic-induced economic coma and healthcare system overloading.

However, he emphasized that the proper way of convincing more people to get jabbed with COVID-19 vaccines is not coercion but education.

“Vaccine mandates and other forms of coercion only engender vaccine suspicion and hesitancy. Let us not add fuel to the fire by resorting to tyrannical measures that impinge on people’s liberties. Freedom of conscience is the crowning glory of all our God-given freedoms. No less than Section 5 Article 3 of the Constitution guarantees the exercise of this freedom to all Filipinos, making the policy in question constitutionally suspect,” Villanueva said.

“Persuade, don’t penalize. Instead of shutting down questions and resorting to coercion, let us work harder on education. Opening lines of conversation and discussion is essential in helping our people arrive at a well-thought-of decision concerning their health and safety. It’s a personal decision that neither the state nor business companies can and should impose on anyone,” Villanueva said.

Villanueva also highlighted past news reports in which throngs of people flocked to vaccination centers, even without appointment, wanting to get jabbed.

“I believe majority of our people want to get vaccinated, but the supplies are either limited or are logistically slowed down in transit. Nevertheless, no private or public entity should ever use these dire predicaments as an excuse to exploit their hardworking employees,” he added.

“Nineteen months into one of the longest series of lockdowns in the world, majority of Filipinos still find themselves struggling to achieve financial, psychological, and social equilibrium. May we as a nation collectively exercise greater levels of selflessness and compassion toward one another. May the challenges of the times drive us not to the realm of desperation and abuse of our fellowmen but toward the bettering of ourselves as compassionate neighbors to one another,” Villanueva concluded.