DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 11 Jan) – Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, who issued an executive order last year mandating the vaccination of all City Hall workers against coronavirus disease (COVID-19), said she does not support calls to restrict the movement of unvaccinated individuals.
Duterte told Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR 87.5) on Monday that there should be no discrimination against people who choose not to get vaccinated since the city government does not implement mandatory vaccination.
She said people are given the “freedom of choice” whether to get vaccination.
“It’s a different story if it’s mandatory. Then, we can require you to stay inside your houses because you are not vaccinated. But right now, we told the public to choose either to get vaccinated or not. Those who choose not to get it must not be excluded,” the mayor said.
She said the local government leaves it up to private establishments whether to implement restrictions for unvaccinated workers.
She said requiring vaccination would only “make it difficult” for private sector workers who choose not to get vaccinated in the absence of any policy making it mandatory.
“I am pro-vaccination and boosters but, in this case, I cannot agree with the exclusion or restriction of the unvaccinated because we’re given the freedom to choose. If they are not given this freedom, we can lock them up inside their homes. But since we give them the freedom, why make it difficult for them,” she said.
She added that it would have been feasible to force them to submit themselves for inoculation had the city made the program mandatory for all eligible individuals.
On September 15, 2021, Duterte issued Executive Order 45, mandating the full vaccination of all personnel of the City Government of Davao – plantilla, job order, contract of service, and volunteers.
Duterte said during her program over DCDR 87.5 last November 29, 2021 that those who were not yet fully vaccinated by January 1, 2022 would not be prioritized for rehiring.
Of the 20,522 city government workers, Duterte said on Monday that the 600 who remained to be unvaccinated by the end of the year underwent counseling in the hope to encourage them to get vaccinated.
As of January 7, Duterte said there were 1,241,639 individuals who received the first dose and 1,173,016 were fully vaccinated.
The Department of Health (DOH)-Davao reported 40 new cases on January 10, bringing the total cases to 54,348 with 462 active, 54,348 recovered, and 1,794 dead. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)