MANILA, Philippines — Employees of the Judiciary are now included in the list of priority groups for the government’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign, the Supreme Court (SC) said Monday.
“I am pleased to inform you that our request for inclusion in priority population group A4 (category A4)1 of the Philippine National Deployment and Vaccination Plan for COVID-19 Vaccines has been granted by the National Task Force Against COVID-19 (NTF),” SC Associate Justice Estela Perlas Bernabe said in a letter addressed to her co-workers in the judiciary.
“At present, the National Task Force Against COVID-19 has communicated that vaccines arriving this April 2021 shall be partly allotted for the judiciary,” she added.
Bernabe issued the letter while she was still acting chief justice.
A4 priority group includes frontline personnel in essential sectors, uniformed personnel, and local officials.
“Indeed, through its adjudicatory functions, the judiciary is an essential institution in the justice sector that works hand-in-hand with the executive branch of government to effectively perform its task of maintaining peace and order and safeguarding public welfare in accordance with the rule of law,” Bernabe said.
Supreme Court spokesperson Keith Hosaka said there are around 30,000 personnel of the judiciary nationwide. These include permanent, coterminous, and casual employees, he added.
“Truly, during this unsettling pandemic, upholding the rule of law assumes greater significance. Thus, access to judicial relief should be constant,” Bernabe said.
The Supreme Court last week said it has earmarked around P19 million for the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines for the 30,000-strong workforce, including judges, justices, officials, and employees, of the judiciary.
“With the NTF’s favorable action on our request, the details of the implementation shall be immediately worked out in order to swiftly roll out the inoculation program soonest,” Bernabe said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Dante Amento)