We are in the “DANGEROUS TIMES” RIGHT NOW. Not only in the Philippines but the WHOLE WORLD. The Deadly Corona Virus SEEMS not bent in stopping its contagion because it is continuously evolving, from COVID 19, SARS COV2, DELTA VARIANT, ALPHA BETA, and NOW THE OMICRON and meron pang B.2.
OMICRON is very contagious and that is why we hear the news all over the world of the surges of those being infected. The infection can be fatal that may lead to serious ailment or even DEATH especially to the Elderly, those with comorbidities and those who are UNVACCINATED.
Several government policies are being strictly introduced by each country around the world just to prevent the spread of the deadly virus.
Here in the Philippines, policies are also being enforced by the government such as the NO VACCINE NO RIDE POLICY effected in Metro Manila when it was under Alert level 3.
Now, several cities are enforcing NO VAX NO ENTRY POLICY such as Cotabato City, General Santos City, Tarlac City and Olongapo City and it appears other cities are following suit.
DOMESTIC FLIGHTS, LOCAL AIRLINES are also implementing NO VACCINATION NO FLY POLICY
CIVIL AVIATION AUTHORITY PHILIPPINES (CAAP) now says no vaccine no entry policy also
Then CEBU CITY says NO VAX NO ENTRY in indoor establishments under “Oplan Puyo Gihapon” (Operation continue to stay at home)
With the trend, we expect to have more policies and directives to come from other local government units and the national government.
There are opinions that the NO VAX NO RIDE policy is a violation of Human Rights at anti-poor because it is a denial to public services. Temporarily this argument is moot because Metro Manila now is Alert Level 2.
Now, there are opinions that the NO VACCINE NO ENTRY is in violation of the right of the people to travel under our constitution
They are also saying that the directives are in fact a way to a forced vaccination to those who do not want to be vaccinated.
The government says it is a valid exercise of police power of the government. The state has 3 inherent powers: Power of Eminent Domain, Power of Taxation and the POLICE POWER, - the power of the state to enact laws to protect the welfare of the people. The government is saying that the exercise of police power to protect the general welfare of the people in terms of public safety and health.
So, I tried to analyze the arguments and I have come up with questions. Here we go:
1. Can our government force its citizens to be VACCINATED?
The answer is NO. It is our basic human right to refuse treatment or vaccination if we do not want to. If I HARM MYSELF BECAUSE I AM NOT VACCINATED IT IS ON ME. THIS IS MY LIFE. Well, I agree on that. In fact, there is no law that punishes a person who harms himself as long he does not harm others or destroy properties. There is no crime of attempted or frustrated suicide, at least in our country. We can even have DNR or DO NOT RECUSCITATE directive before a medical operation in that if something bad will happen during or after the operation leading to come, the patient will not be resuscitated. So yes, the government cannot force you to be vaccinated if you do not want. That is your right, and it must be respected.
2. Can the government impose the questioned directives like the NO VAX NO RIDE POLICY, NO VAX NO ENTRY POLICY, NO ENTRY ON INDOOR ESTABLISHMENTS or even the NO VAX NO FLY?
The opposing opinion says, it is tantamount to force people to be vaccinated if even they do not want. It is also a discrimination.
The GOVERNMENT of course will cling under the police power clause wherein the aim for such directives is to protect the welfare of the people in terms of public safety and health.
So, what is my take on this? The directives are NOT discriminatory but there are some questionable holes to fill in.
First, let us analyze what does really the government want? Clearly the purpose is to prevent the spread of the contagious disease and thus, protect the welfare of the people.
And so, I have these questions:
1. Can the vaccinated still be infected and a carrier of the virus? Yes
2. Can the unvaccinated be infected and a carrier of the virus? Yes
3. Is the viral load and severity the same both coming from the vaccinated and unvaccinated? Yes
I thought at first there is no difference whether you are vaccinated or not because if you get infected, you are still a carrier of the virus.
So, I thought there is no difference at all and thus, it was discriminatory to deny the unvaccinated to ride a bus, an airplane or any other modes of transportation. Same with the no vax no entry policy.
But when I watched a video from WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION, my thoughts changed. I was enlightened to know that although the vaccinated and unvaccinated carries the same viral load, the vaccinated can clear the virus faster than the unvaccinated. Meaning, unvaccinated people may carry the virus much longer in its body than the vaccinated, and thus, may possibly infect more people.
Our main purpose is to achieve a herd immunity so that virus could no longer jump from one to another, and sadly, it is difficult to achieve that if there are many unvaccinated people.
Therefore, my opinion is that the directives of the government on no vax no ride, no entry and even the no vax no fly are actually NOT made to force people to be vaccinated but instead – to prevent the spread of the virus. It is not discriminatory since what it seeks is to protect public safety and health. SALUS POPULI EST SUPREMA LEX – “The welfare of the people is the supreme law.”
But I said that there are questionable holes to fill in.
How about the basic necessities? Such as food and medicine. Would the directives somehow affect the unvaccinated on these matters?
If the unvaccinated buys food at an indoor grocery store and cannot enter therein is that not in effect discriminatory and denial of the basic necessities in life?
Well, you would say they can do GRAB FOOD, or FOOD PANDA or go to the public market. Yes, true if they have the means to do that. How about the poor? Who could not do GRAB or Food Panda? Or who could not go to public market without using a public utility vehicle? How could they buy medicine for example at Mercury Drug, when almost all are enclosed establishments?
So there! That is the hole that I am saying. The government must fill in and address that hole, otherwise, the unvaccinated poor may end up in the pit of hunger and death.
My prayer on this is for the government pay some attention to the very poor sector of the community that they are not denied the basic public services and basic necessities - whether they are vaccinated or not – because on those matters, the denial of it or even the difficulty in obtaining it would now be tantamount to deprivation of the basic human rights. This sector also belongs to the whole community of Filipino People – who share the same right – the Right to Life.
This is my view and of course, you may agree to disagree with me.