The Palawan field office of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has asked local employers and businesses to fully vaccinate their respective workforces before Malacañang announces final instructions for all working individuals.

This follows the announcement on Friday by presidential spokesperson Harry Roque that the national government would compel all qualified public and private personnel to be completely vaccinated against COVID-19 commencing December 1. He said unvaccinated personnel would need routine antigen or reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing.

Luis Evangelista, head of DOLE Palawan, stated that although they have not yet received formal guidance from concerned departments, businesses and employers should begin urging personnel to be vaccinated.

“Dapat mag-isip ang employers ng mga paraan para ma-encourage ang mga hindi pa vaccinated na magpabakuna na,” Evangelista said in a phone interview, Friday.

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“Sa ngayon, wala pa kami kasing nare-receive na official guidelines from the national IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force) regarding that,” he added.

Evangelista added that companies can also have internal policies not to allow unvaccinated individuals to come to work, but added that it is still illegal to terminate them for the same reason.

He explained that this is because companies are exercising health and safety protocols to protect other employees and prevent COVID-19, a highly infectious virus, from spreading.

“Puwede naman kasi na maging internal policy ng kumpanya ‘yon. Pero ang hindi lang talaga puwede ay ‘yong tatanggalin nila ang mga employee kapag wala pang bakuna,” he explained.

According to Malacanang’s pronouncement, vaccination will be mandatory for all public and private employees who are eligible for vaccination and are located in areas where vaccine supplies are sufficient. Private and public establishments can also deny services or entry to unvaccinated or partially vaccinated customers and clients.

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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.