MORE MANDATORY VACCINATIONS FOR WORKERS!!

Everyone said it would never happen. That Filipinos would not be forced to take the vaccine for COVID-19. How quickly do those in power go back on their promises?

Some of you may remember the article I wrote back in mid-September on the “mandatory” vaccination of workers in the Service Industry in the National Capital Region. In that article, I explained how the government has done a U-Turn on its Bello “statement” that the vaccination would not be made mandatory for employees. And then they mandated vaccinations for establishments in NCR under Alert Level 4 who wanted to offer INDOOR services such as dining, nails, salon, etc.

It also had the requirement that ALL STAFF were vaccinated. So you cannot just vaccinate those employees who are servicing your indoor customers. ALL your staff MUST be vaccinated if you want to offer indoor dining, nails, etc.

Now they have not only increased the Alert Levels that require vaccinated employees for indoor services, but they have done the same thing for other areas of the Philippines. Things have been constantly changing behind the scenes over the past month, in order to force employees to become vaccinated by changing the requirements and allowances for certain establishments to allow them to operate indoors for FULLY VACCINATED CUSTOMERS.

THE FIRST CHANGES

Changing from Alert Level 4 only to Alert Levels 3 & 2 as well.

The Original IATF Guidelines that iterated the requirement for vaccinated employees for industries opening for indoor services, which applied only to the NCR, stated that the requirement for workers to be fully vaccinated ONLY applied for areas of the NCT that were under Alert Level 4 as of 16 September 2021.

“Indoor dine-in services may be allowed at a limited ten (10%) venue/seating capacity but will cater only to individuals fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in addition to their allowed outdoor or al fresco capacity. Provided, that all workers/employees of these establishments have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.”

This requirement for vaccinated employees also applied to businesses in various other areas, including, but not limited to:

  • Personal care services limited to barbershops, hair spas, nail spas, and beauty salons;
  • In-person religious gatherings
  • Fitness studios and gyms for individual non-contact exercise

(The numbers of 10% for dine-in services, personal care services, religious gatherings, and gyms was increased to 20% on September 30 2021.)

For areas of the NCR listed under Alert Levels 3 and 2, there is no such requirement. They merely needed to limit their seating capacity to 30%/50% (respectively) or get the “Safety Seal Certification” issued by the LGU to be able to increase that limit to 40%/60% (respectively) of capacity. The same “Safety Seal Certification” also allowed the establishments offering indoor service to vaccinated customers to add yet another 10% of capacity to their limit in Alert Level 4 areas where all staff were vaccinated.

Issuance of new IATF GUIDELINES ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF ALERT LEVELS SYSTEM FOR COVID-19 RESPONSE IN PILOT AREAS, as of October 13, 2021 changed the requirements for the various alert levels, so that not only were establishments in areas under Alert Level 4 required to have their employees vaccinated to provide indoor services, but Alert Levels 3 & 2 were also included in this strategy.

“SECTION [3] GUIDELINES FOR AREAS UNDER ALERT LEVEL 4.

The following establishments, or activities, shall be allowed to operate, or be undertaken at a maximum of 10% indoor venue capacity for fully vaccinated individuals only and 30% outdoor venue capacity. Provided, that all workers/employees of these establishments are fully vaccinated against COVID-19

  • In-person religious gatherings
  • Licensure or entrance/qualifying examinations
  • Dine-in services in food preparation establishments
  • Personal care establishments such as barbershops, hair spas, hair salons, and nail spas
  • Fitness studios, gyms, and venues for non-contact exercise and sports
  • Film, music, and television production”

“SECTION [4] GUIDELINES FOR AREAS UNDER ALERT LEVEL 3.

The following establishments, or activities, shall be allowed to operate or be undertaken at a maximum of 30% indoor venue capacity for fully vaccinated individuals only and 50% outdoor venue capacity. Provided, that all workers/employees of these establishments are fully vaccinated against COVID-19

  • Venues for meetings
  • Permitted venues for social events
  • Visitor or tourist attractions
  • Amusement parks or theme parks
  • Recreational venues
  • Cinemas and movie houses
  • Limited face-to-face or in-person (CHED)
  • In-person religious gatherings
  • Licensure or entrance/qualifying examinations
  • Dine-in services in food preparation establishments
  • Personal care establishments such as barbershops, hair spas, hair salons, and nail spas
  • Fitness studios, gyms, and venues for non-contact exercise and sports,
  • Film, music, and television production”

“SECTION [5] GUIDELINES FOR AREAS UNDER ALERT LEVEL 2

The following establishments, or activities, shall be allowed to operate, or be undertaken at a maximum of 50% indoor venue capacity for fully vaccinated individuals only and those below 18 years of age, even if unvaccinated, and 70% outdoor venue capacity. Provided, that all workers/employees of these establishments are fully vaccinated against COVID-19

  • Venues for meetings
  • Permitted venues for social events
  • Visitor or tourist attractions
  • Amusement parks or theme parks;
  • Recreational venues
  • Cinemas and movie houses;
  • Limited face-to-face or in-person classes for basic education
  • Limited face-to-face or in-person classes for higher education/TechVoc
  • In-person religious gatherings
  • Licensure or entrance/qualifying examinations
  • Dine-in services of food preparation establishments
  • Personal care establishments such as barbershops, hair spas, hair salons, and nail spas,
  • Fitness studios, gyms, and venues for individual non-contact exercise and sports,
  • Film, music, and television production
  • Contact sports approved by the LGU where such games shall be held;
  • Funfairs/peryas or kid amusement industries such as playgrounds, playroom, and kiddie rides;
  • Venues with live voice or wind-instrument performers and audiences such as in karaoke bars, clubs, concert halls, and theaters; and
  • Gatherings in residences with individuals not belonging to the same household.”

(WHAAAAAAAT??? Now you have to be vaccinated to visit your friends?????)

As you can see, since the new revamped Guidelines were introduced on October 13, there were a lot of changes to the Alert Level requirements, especially for those establishments that wanted to operate indoors, and even changes to the requirements for some establishments operating outdoors.

The requirement for all staff to be fully vaccinated under Alert Level 4 is only for indoor services of certain types, such as dining, nail spa, salon, gyms, religious services, and licensure exams.

Under Alert Level 3, however, not only is the allowance higher for indoor services and the list of those providers longer. And the same goes for Alert Level 2. But as can be seen, while the list is longer and the capacity is larger, there is that ADDITIONAL requirement from previous editions of the Guidelines that ALL STAFF are vaccinated in order to operate indoor services.

What I find strangest of all, though, is that you are now required, if you are in an area under Alert Level 2, to be FULLY VACCINATED if you are going to a friend’s house for supper, having a few drinks, or just generally going visiting friends and relatives that you DO NOT LIVE WITH.

Wondering how they are going to police that? Does it mean that, if my friend comes for a drink and cannot provide his Completed Vaccination Card, I must refuse to let him drink inside, and we have to do our drinking outdoors?

Like THAT’S gonna happen!!!

MORE CHANGES…

But those were not the only changes that happened recently. On October 18 2021, the IATF issued “RESOLUTION NO. 144-D, Series of 2021”, which increased the number of Areas that were subject to the “Pilot Program” of the Alert Levels System of COVID-19 Response.

And here’s me stupidly thinking that a “Pilot Program” was a small-scale, short-term experiment that helped an organization learn how a large-scale project might work in practice. Obviously, my Doctorate from a British University does not qualify me to understand English properly.

Obviously, a “Pilot Program”, according to the Philippine Government, is a “series of steps” designed to implement a policy or requirement slowly and surreptitiously over the course of an extended period of time to ensure that “mandatory” requirements are implemented as expeditiously and quietly as possible to prevent an angry outcry from the general populace, therefore administering the “mandatory” requirements in majority of the country’s workforce before they realize what has happened.

In other words, a way to vaccinate the workforce slowly, without requiring their consent.

In this IATF Resolution, the number of areas that were now included in the “Pilot Program” increased from ONE to TWENTY! Another 19 areas were included in this alleged “Pilot Program”.

“NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, as it is hereby resolved, that the IATF approves that beginning 20 October 2021, the pilot area of implementation of the Alert Levels System shall be expanded to the following provinces, HUCs, and ICCs:”

  • Batangas
  • Bohol
  • Cavite
  • Cebu City
  • Cebu Province
  • Davao City
  • Davao De Oro
  • Davao del Norte
  • Davao del Sur
  • Davao Occidental
  • Davao Oriental
  • Laguna
  • Lapu-Lapu City
  • Lucena City
  • Mandaue City
  • Negros Oriental
  • Quezon province
  • Rizal
  • Siquijor

As of October 20 2021, all workers in establishments that are providing indoor services to vaccinated customers in these areas must be fully vaccinated, no matter what Alert Level their area may be in. So we went from ONE area for a “pilot Program’ to TWENTY areas, for the same “Pilot Program”.

EVEN MORE CHANGES…

OK, we all know that change is constant. And the only thing that are certain is death and taxes, and even death can be delayed (just don’t try to delay paying your taxes….).

So we come to the latest change in the saga of MANDATORY VACCINATION!!

Now, according to IATF Resolution No. 146-A, Series of 2021, which is dated October 28 2021 and takes effect tomorrow, November 1 2021, ANOTHER 24 areas will be added to the “Pilot Program”.

Actually, it’s not a “Pilot Program” anymore. The IATF, having decided that twenty areas should be enough of a test area for the program, have implemented the Alert Levels System across all twenty areas, and added another 24 areas as well, just for good measure. And so they can enforce MANDATORY VACCINATION on all of the relevant employees in all four lower Alert Levels in all of those 24 areas as well.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, as it is hereby resolved, that the IATF approves the recommendation of the sub-Technical Working Group on Data Analytics in expanding the implementation of the Alert Levels System. Beginning 01 November 2021, the following provinces, highly urbanized cities (HUCs), and independent component cities (ICCs) shall be under their respective Alert Level:”

  • Aklan
  • Angeles City
  • Antique
  • Aurora
  • Bacolod City
  • Baguio City
  • Bataan
  • Bukidnon
  • Bulacan
  • Cagayan de Oro City
  • Camiguin
  • Capiz
  • Guimaras
  • Iligan City
  • Iloilo
  • Iloilo City
  • Lanao del Norte
  • Misamis Occidental
  • Misamis Oriental
  • Negros occidental
  • Nueva Ecija
  • Olongapo City
  • Pampanga
  • Tarlac

As of November 1 2021, all workers in establishments that are providing indoor services to vaccinated customers in these additional areas must also be fully vaccinated!

This is only until November 14, mind. Probably, after that, they will add a few more areas to be included, until the whole of the country has MANDATORY VACCINATIONS for workers in all the listed sectors and areas. And maybe even changes to the Guidelines again at some point in the not-too-distant future which mandates those vaccinations in construction, factories, BPOs, and other industries. And maybe, just maybe, they will expand that unusual requirement to:

“Gatherings in residences with individuals BELONGING to the same household.”

Family Spend time together and have fun

FUTURE CHANGES…?

So, no doubt at some point in the near future, the other 59 areas of the Philippines will be included in this MANDATORY VACCINATION OF EMPLOYEES to enable the government to ensure that the whole country’s workforce at least has been vaccinated:

  • Abra
  • Agusan Del Norte
  • Agusan del Sur
  • Albay
  • Apayao
  • Basilan
  • Batanes
  • Benguet
  • Biliran
  • Butuan City
  • Cagayan
  • Camarines Norte
  • Camarines Sur
  • Catanduanes
  • City of Santiago
  • Cotabato City
  • Dinagat Islands
  • Eastern Samar
  • Gen. Santos City
  • Ifugao
  • Ilocos Norte
  • Ilocos Sur
  • Dagupan City
  • Isabela
  • Isabela City
  • Kalinga
  • La Union
  • Lanao Del Sur
  • Leyte
  • Maguindanao
  • Marinduque
  • Masbate
  • Mountain Province
  • Naga City
  • North Cotabato
  • Northern Samar
  • Nueva Vizcaya
  • Occidental Mindoro
  • Oriental Mindoro
  • Ormoc City
  • Palawan
  • Pangasinan
  • Puerto Princesa
  • Quirino
  • Romblon
  • Sarangani
  • Sorsogon
  • South Cotabato
  • Southern Leyte
  • Sultan Kudarat
  • Sulu
  • Surigao Del Norte
  • Surigao del Sur
  • Tacloban City
  • Tawi-Tawi
  • Western Samar
  • Zamboanga City
  • Zamboanga del Norte
  • Zamboanga del Sur
  • Zamboanga Sibugay

And then maybe it will move on to the rest of the population. The kids, the elderly, the sick and infirm, the objectors, the anti-vaccine groups, and make it all surreptitiously MANDATORY for everyone to get vaccinated.

TO VACCINATE OR NOT TO VACCINATE?

I don’t actually have anything against the vaccine, as a whole. If people want to get vaccinated for their own reasons, that is up to them. I will never try and tell people what to do. Well, not too often… I do have kids… And dogs… And the Mrs.

My only reason for not getting vaccinated at the moment is my health. I have a severe heart condition that requires regular medication, which means I am susceptible to a potentially fatal dose if I were to get COVID. And a vaccination is, effectively, a small dose of COVID.

Now, since my doctors have advised me to protect myself from the virus completely (which is why I don’t yet go out), why the hell would I deliberately get stuck with a needle full of a small dose of COVID? Whether it is mild or not, for me at least, it could still be potentially fatal.

Is this true? Aren’t vaccines supposed to give you immunity without getting the virus? Both my eldest kids (25 and 19) were vaccinated by their employers (completely voluntary), and both suffered flu-like symptoms for a couple of days after each shot. Many people I have spoken with also said that they felt a little “under the weather” after being vaccinated, though nobody I know died from a vaccination.

One thing I do know for sure is that the vaccination requirement to eat indoors under Alert Levels 4, 3 & 2 will, for a while at least, produce a segregation culture, with those already vaccinated being permitted to dine inside, while those who are not get left out in the cold (or heat, as the case may be).

2 thoughts on “MORE MANDATORY VACCINATIONS FOR WORKERS!!

  1. Pingback: Mandatory Vaccinations For Workers!! Part II – No Longer Mandatory – Employment Law Project

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