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TURNING POINT: To Take or Not to Take Offense


NAAWAN, Misamis Oriental (MindaNews / 14 January) — For safety and security reasons and to protect their image and interest, business establishments like hotel, restaurants, resorts and amusement parks  imposes rules and regulations on the admission of guests or customers, that may include any of the following: dress code, age limit, passport, prohibition in bringing deadly weapon and pets, etc.

We may be frustrated but can’t take offense on such exercise of discretion; because if we were in their shoes, we might likely do the same.

You won’t quarrel with a security guard of a public establishment who strictly implements the rule – No ID, No Entry, to visiting unknown persons, unless an inside authority overrides the rule, on account of an appointment earlier made.

Discriminatory, it may look like it; but the unvaccinated should take no offense if they are not allowed to shop in malls or to eat in their favorite restaurant. To repeat, some prohibition is a necessity in the business enterprise. The basis of their prohibition might be whimsical or wrong to you, but it is their establishment. As long as you are not deprived of your rights, no harm is done.  Your option is to scout for a more accommodating dining place or to get finally get jabbed to preclude future inconvenience.

But it’s a different matter for the government. The government is supposed to enforce the law and protect the rights of citizens without discrimination. To prevent the unvaccinated access to public transport, in furtherance of its stay-at-home policy to, accordingly, curb the surge of the Omicron virus,  is misplaced.

The policy is wrong, unjust and discriminatory because the unvaccinated are already judged and punished as virus spreaders even if they are not yet tested positive or found infected of the virus. It is discriminatory because it disallows only the unvaccinated from public transport when both the unvaccinated and the vaccinated can be infected by the virus and both can be spreaders of the same as a result. Besides, it has no basis in law, therefore, illegal.

Because of this unlawful policy, the unvaccinated are inconvenienced in reporting to work or in looking for work. This not only prejudices them and their families but a lot of people in the economic chain – in production, transport, distribution and consumption.

We don’ know how many of the 48.45M (15-65 yo) in the labor force are unvaccinated. So far, though, the number of the fully vaccinated of the country’s population is reported at 53.45M. If we assume that 50% of the figure is unvaccinated, the number is still too huge to strongly impact on the economy.

Government planners need to develop more creative options in fighting the virus without doing harm to some people and the economy. (MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. William R. Adan, Ph.D., is retired professor and former chancellor of Mindanao State University at Naawan, Misamis Oriental, Philippines.)

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