Villanueva: Labor Day jabbing of economic frontliners should kickstart massive vaccination drive for workers

The government’s plan to vaccinate a select group of workers on Labor Day “should go beyond the symbolic to something that is sustained,” according to Senator Joel Villanueva.


Villanueva praised the Department of Labor and Employment “for making this very important activity a part of the May 1 celebrations of the government.”


“I can vouch for the good intentions of Secretary Bebot Bello. Kung siya lang masusunod, talagang buhos na bakuna sa mga manggagawa,” said Villanueva chair of the Senate labor committee. “I hope that it is not a one-day show, but the start of a regular program to vaccinate workers. We owe it to our economic frontliners to conduct vaccinations daily and not just on Labor Day.”


In a statement, Villanueva also reiterated his call for the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to map out essential workers under the A4 classification to sustain the vaccination drive of economic frontliners beyond Labor Day


So that the vaccination of essential workers can proceed smoothly, the government should be ready with its registry of persons under the “A4” classification in the national vaccination priority list, Villanueva said. The list should go beyond workers in the formal sector and OFWs, and include workers in the informal sector.


“There should be a way in which informal sector workers can be identified. A user-friendly app where they can register. Government agencies that keep a directory of their clientele, like the DSWD, should share their database,” he said.


“Halimbawa, tindera ng pagkain sa  palengke, driver ng jeep, pahinante ng mga food trucks, mga essential workers ang mga yan na self-employed na hindi kasama sa directory of workers ng isang kumpanya, “ he added.


If the showcase vaccination on May 1 is meant to assure workers that vaccines for them are on the way, “then the best place to hold it plan is in a factory,” Villanueva suggested.

“Ito ay upang ipakita sa mga manggagawa sa transportasyon na kung ang vaccination ay isang byahe tungo sa isang maaliwalas na bukas, kasama sila at hindi sila iiwanan”

The lawmaker explained that as long as the identified site is under the auspices of the government, it can be anywhere, for ceremonial purpose or even as regular vaccination site.  A factory or call center is no different from a barangay hall or a private village clubhouse, he continued.


“I understand the persuasion value of holding this kind of activity at a time of vaccine shortage and hesitancy. But to better drive home the message, let us do it on the factory floor, and not some remote stage,” Villanueva said.


He said one vaccination site which can be explored are bus garages or covered PUV terminals.


“Ito ay upang ipakita sa mga manggagawa sa transportasyon na kung ang vaccination ay isang byahe tungo sa isang maaliwalas na bukas, kasama sila at hindi sila iiwanan,” Villanueva said.


The senator made the comments following IATF’s approval of a DOLE request that some 5,000 thousand of workers, particularly minimum wage earners and OFWs, are set to be vaccinated in a symbolic rite on Labor Day.