Mayor Sara releases order on mandatory vax of City Hall workers

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 16 Sep) – Mayor Sara Duterte has issued an order enforcing “mandatory vaccination” of all workers of the city government of Davao against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) by the end of November as the city attempts to hasten the immunization drive amid a surge of new infections driven by new variants.

Mayor Sara Duterte. Photo from the City Government of Davao Facebook page

Executive Order 45, signed by Duterte on Wednesday but released on Thursday, requires City Hall employees, including plantilla, job order, contract of service, and volunteers to get fully vaccinated.

The local chief executive directed department heads and chiefs-of-offices to ensure that all personnel assigned in their offices are “fully vaccinated” on or before November 30, 2021, a shorter leeway from the deadline of December 31 that Duterte previously gave to workers.

The order provides that the city government recognized the “right to health of a government personnel includes the right to refuse vaccination” but maintained that “this right should bow to the superior right to health of the majority consisting of other city government personnel and public at large.”

It said that the city government currently has 12,000 vaccinated employees, and no one among its 20,000 total workers has died due to COVID-19.

“The unreasonable refusal of some personnel to get vaccinated should not be allowed to bring to naught the cooperation of the majority, their effort to achieve herd immunity and their right to a healthy disease-free environment,” it said.

Section 2 states that the Human Resource Management Office (HRMO) must “ensure and coordinate with the Davao City COVID-19 Task Force Vaccination Cluster in organizing and scheduling the vaccination of all city government personnel.” It also requires administrative officers of various offices to submit to the Personnel Benefits and Welfare Division of HRMO the list of personnel to be included in the vaccination schedule.

Vaccination in Davao City. Mindanews file photo

Sanctions will be imposed on employees who refuse to get vaccinated, according to the order. For plantilla personnel, they will be held administratively liable for insubordination and will be penalized by suspension of one month and one day to six months for the first offense and dismissal from the service for the second offense, pursuant to Section 50 (2) of the 2017 Rules on Administrative Cases in Civil Service.

The order, however, is silent as to the sanctions on job order, contract of service workers, and volunteers, who refuse vaccination. It merely provides that the “City Government of Davao shall prioritize the hiring of job order, contract of service, and volunteers who are fully vaccinated.”

But Duterte, in her program over Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR 87.5) on September 6, said their refusal will be the basis for non-renewal of their contracts.

The mayor’s order said personnel may be exempted from the mandatory COVID-19 vaccination if his/her name is endorsed by the Vaccine Cluster head to HRMO as exempted due to medical reason that is listed as a contraindication in all the available vaccines.

“No other reason for exemption shall be allowed,” it noted.

The Department of Health central office posted an advisory on Aug. 5 that the “no vaccine, no work policy is not allowed,” citing Advisory No. 03 Series of 2021 of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and Republic Act 11525 (COVID-19 Vaccination Program Act).

The DOLE advisory, however, applies only “to all establishments and employers in the private sector.”

Section of 12 of RA 11525, on the other hand, pointed out that vaccination “shall not be considered as an additional mandatory requirement for educational, employment and other similar government transaction purposes.”

As of September 1, the city government recorded 264,599 individuals belonging to A4 or essential workers who received the first dose of anti-COVID-19 vaccines and 91,092 who received two doses.

In total, 605,434 individuals received the first dose and 340,050 for the second dose or 28.33% of the target of 1.2 million vaccinated residents to achieve herd immunity.

As of Wednesday, DOH-Davao reported 505 new cases in this city, bringing the total cases to 44,863, with 9,056 active, 34,455 recoveries, and 1,352 deaths. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)