A woman receives her vaccination at the city coliseum. (PN File Photo)

The Puerto Princesa City Council shot down a suggestion to implement the “No Vax, No Christmas Bonus” policy on Monday, stating that the measure is discriminatory in nature against those who chose not to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Puerto Princesa City Government Employees Association (PPCGEA) president Khrais Bundal suggested in a letter to the Council to pass a resolution requesting Mayor Lucilo Bayron to implement such policy so more city government employees would be encouraged to get vaccinated.

“As of this date (November 15), the estimated number of the city government of Puerto Princesa employees (plantilla) who have been fully vaccinated is only 810. Maybe the initiative of giving Christmas bonus as [a] vaccination incentive…will be an instrument to encourage others resistant [vaccination,” Bundal said in his letter.

“May we request from any member of the City Council to sponsor a resolution requesting the mayor for the creation and implementation of the ‘no vax, no Christmas bonus policy,” he added.

The letter also included an annex of a news article by a national outlet describing Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama’s statements that he would only release the Christmas bonuses of nearly 5,000 government employees only if they will get vaccinated against COVID-19.

City councilors unanimously agreed during the Council’s regular session that such a measure was unfair and that receiving a bonus is every government employee’s right, regardless of their vaccination status.

“Hindi karapat-dapat para sa akin na i-require o pilitin natin ‘yong mga empleyado ng ating pamahalaang panglokal. Unfair na magiging dahilan na hindi sila makakatanggap ng bonus dahil hindi sila magpapabakuna. Karapatan nilang makatanggap ng bonus may bakuna man sila o wala,” said city councilor Elgin Damasco.

“Hindi ako puwedeng mag-sponsor nito. Although naniniwala ako na importante ang bakuna, and the city government has other ways to compel its employees, pero hindi dapat maging dahilan ito na hindi sila makakatanggap ng kanilang bonus,” said city councilor Henry Gadiano.

As of Puerto Princesa Covac’s data on November 23, 37.6 percent of Puerto Princesa’s target population is fully vaccinated, still way below the 70 percent target for herd immunity against COVID-19.

Health officials are wary that those in the eligible population who are still unvaccinated are at high risk of severe COVID-19 symptoms and death.

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is a senior reporter for Palawan News who covers politics, education, environment, tourism, and human interest stories. She loves watching Netflix, reading literary fiction, and listens to serial fiction podcasts. Her favorite color is blue.