Condemn and resist the “no bakuna, no labas” policy

 

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) calls on the Filipino people to condemn and oppose the downright authoritarian “no bakuna, no labas” policy being proposed by the Covid-19 Interagency Task Force (IATF). The plan to extend nationwide the imposition of vaccine mandates earlier implemented in the National Capital Region (NCR) will result in widespread violations of human rights and extreme hardships on the people. It will effectively discriminate or deny rights to more than half the country’s population.

The “no bakuna, no labas” proposal by Duterte’s officials merely seeks to obscure the gross neglect of the Duterte government of the public health system amid the pandemic, and pass the blame on people for its continuing failed response to the pandemic. Even in the face of the anticipated new surge of infections, there remains no system of mass testing, especially for the broad masses of toiling people, who continue to be burdened by expensive testing and loss of income when forced to quarantine. Nor were there preparations to strengthen public hospitals and hire new medical personnel, retrofit schools to allow the safe conduct of in-person classes, nor moves to ensure health-safety in workplaces. The government did not even ensure the supply of medicine resulting in some shortages.

The Party promotes and encourages the people to get vaccinated against Covid-19 as a way of increasing their protection from the virus or from severe symptoms of the disease. However, it is wrong to require people to get vaccinated for them to avail of essential public service, from transportation to education. Requiring or mandating people to get vaccinated is discriminatory, oppressive and burdensome.

More than 50% of Filipinos remain unvaccinated primarily because of the lack of supply and because of the lack of access to vaccines. Although vaccines are free, a large part of the population cannot afford to go to the limited number of vaccination centers. Some have chosen not to get vaccinated out of legitimate concerns especially in the face of lack of transparency by big pharmaceuticals who monopolize vaccine production.

The Party condemns how government officials, big business and some media outfits vilify and heap blame on unvaccinated people as if they are the cause of the new pandemic surge.

Imposing a vaccine mandates will effectively violate the social, economic and civil rights of more than half the country’s population. Such vaccine mandates will also result in widespread social and economic dislocation, especially in areas where there are low rates of vaccinations.

Based on the experiences of different countries during the past year, it is clear that insufficient and slow roll-out and inequitable distribution of vaccines will not stop the pandemic, nor will lockdowns and restrictions.

There must always be a system of free mass testing and rapid contact tracing to detect and stop the spread of the virus. There should also be sufficient funds for subsidies to compensate workers who might be compelled to be placed under quarantine.

Condemn and resist the "no bakuna, no labas" policy
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