ILOILO City – “Wala pilitay.”
No one is being forced against his or her will to be vaccinated against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), stressed Councilor Romel Duron, chairman of the Sangguniang Panlungsod’s (SP) committee on rules where a proposed ordinance restricting the movement of unvaccinated people here has been referred for public hearings.
However, he said, “We are allowed to restrict their movements, especially in areas nga daw may danger bala.”
It is the Office of the City Mayor that is proposing the ordinance. It covers city residents, those working in Iloilo City, and all non-city residents entering the metro.
Duron dismissed fears that the restrictions would curtain people’s rights; he invoked “general welfare”.
“We are not here to protect (from COVID-19) only the unvaccinated but also the vaccinated,” he stressed.
Public hearings on the proposed ordinance would be jointly conducted by Duron’s committee and the SP Committee on Health chaired by Councilor Allan Zaldivar.
Various sectors would be invited to share their thoughts, said Duron.
THE PROPOSED ORDINANCE
Under the proposed measure, all non-fully vaccinated persons shall remain in their residences at all times except when accessing essential goods and services such as, but not limited to, food, water, medicine, medical devices, public utilities, and energy, work, and medical and dental necessities.
Individual outdoor exercise shall be allowed within the general area of their residence.
However, when accessing essential goods or services, non-fully vaccinated persons must present negative RT-PCR (reverse transcription – polymerase chain reaction) test results taken within the last 72 hours.
Furthermore, non-fully vaccinated persons are also prohibited in indoor and outdoor/al fresco dining in restaurants and other food establishments.
They are barred, too, from leisure or social trips to malls, hotels, event venues, sports and country clubs, and similar facilities.
“This notwithstanding, private establishments offering essential goods and services may refuse entry of non-fully vaccinated persons as part of their business prerogative,” read part of the proposed ordinance.
Persons ineligible for vaccination may be allowed entry to establishments provided their ineligibility is duly certified by their pastor/priest or respective District Medical Officer.
WORKPLACE VACCINE MANDATE
Non-fully vaccinated persons shall be required to undergo an RT-PCR test every two weeks at their personal expense and present negative RT-PCR results prior to being admitted for work onsite, subject to the issuances of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
In the event that the RT-PCR test and/or result is/are not immediately available, a Rapid Antigen Test may be utilized.
Employers have the option to provide non-fully vaccinated employees a grace period of one calendar month to obtain their first COVID-19 vaccination shot.
As long as the employees obtain the first shot within this grace period, and subsequently obtain any required second shot as prescribed for the concerned vaccine, the employees shall not be required to take the biweekly tests.
Persons ineligible for vaccination should be able to present a current certification issued within the last two weeks from their pastor/priest that inoculation with COVID- 19 vaccine is strictly against their religious belief, or a Medical Certificate from their respective District Medical Officer certifying that due to underlying medical conditions, they are not viable candidates for COV1D-19 vaccination.
MANDATORY PRESENTATION OF VACCINATION CARDS WITH ID
All persons residing and sojourning within the city are mandated to present upon inspection their local government-issued COVID-19 vaccination cards, or Department of Health-issued Vaccine Certificates or Certificate of Ineligibility.
Establishments offering essential services and goods located within malls are mandated to require the presentation of vaccination cards for fully-vaccinated individuals, a negative RT-PCR test result taken within the last 72 hours for non-fully vaccinated persons, and a Certificate of Ineligibility for persons ineligible for vaccination.
Establishments offering goods and services that are unessential are mandated to assign a worker/s to check the documentary card/certificates together with a valid ID of all patrons entering their premises.
Meanwhile, individual establishments and offices within malls and other similar business communities such as but not limited to boutiques, restaurants and cafes must comply with the mandatory presentation of vaccination cards with ID for their entering clients.
For al fresco venues consisting of multiple establishments with no particular entry or exit points thereto, the responsibility for checking the Vaccine Cards/Certificates or Certificates of Ineligibility with valid ID relies on those establishments servicing said patron.
Any individual found to be in violation of the ordinance will be charged with P500 for the first offense and/or four hours of community service; P1,000 for the second offense and/or eight hours of community service; and P3,000 and/or 24 hours of community service for the third and subsequent offenses./PN