The Palace on Tuesday said there was nothing wrong with proposals to withhold Christmas bonuses from people who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19, saying such bonuses are discretionary.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said that giving a Christmas bonus is not mandated by law and depends on the willingness of employers to grant it.
“Because the Christmas bonus is discretionary, that may be used as part of the incentives to convince more people to get the jab,” Roque said.
“I do not see anything wrong with it because it is a Christmas bonus. It is not a requirement under the law,” he added.
Roque said that the requirements for government employees are 13th month and 14th-month pay.
His remarks came after Cebu City acting mayor Michael Rama said the city’s policy was “no vaccine, no Christmas bonus.”
On Monday, Rama announced that P20,000 will be released as a Christmas bonus of Cebu City Hall employees, on condition that all of them get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Rama’s move was aimed at further boosting the COVID-19 Vaccination drive in Cebu City.
Roque said Rama’s policy was an acceptable way to convince more people to get inoculated against the coronavirus.
The Philippines aims to vaccinate 70 percent of its general population within 2021.
As of Monday, a total of 64,947,366 Covid-19 vaccine jabs have already been administered nationwide.
Around 29,809,085 people have already been fully protected against the coronavirus, while 35,138,281 others have received the first dose of the vaccine.