Opposition to ‘no vax, no ride’ policy snowballs

EDSA

A partylist group at the House of Representatives aired its opposition to the “no-vaccine, no ride” policy currently being implemented in Metro Manila.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Who are the lawmakers that are opposing the no-vaccine, no ride policy of the government?

    They are Deputy Speaker Eddie Villanueva and Congressman Domeng Rivera. They are both representing Citizens’ Battle Against Corruption (CIBAC) Party-list.
  • What is their stand on the regulation?

    According to the two, the policy limiting the unvaccinated in public transport is anti-poor, anti-science, and, ultimately, anti-people.” 
  • In a joint statement, the Citizens’ Battle Against Corruption (CIBAC) Party-list, represented by Deputy Speaker Eddie Villanueva and Congressman Domeng Rivera, described the regulation as “anti-poor, anti-science, and, ultimately, anti-people.”

    The two lawmakers said that they are “asserting the fundamental truth that public restrictions targeting a segment of the population based on their health status and personal conviction,” saying that such move is “discriminatory and flagrantly intrusive of Filipinos’ basic rights.”

    “A broad-sweeping ban against the unvaccinated on the use of public utility vehicles (PUV) renders a huge swath of low-income Filipinos immobile, unable to report to work, and paralyzed from participating in economic activities that support the survival of their families amid the pandemic,” the group’s representatives shared, noting that the hardest hit of this order are the middle-class to the poorest of the poor (all comprising the majority of commuters).

    The lawmakers cited that the abovementioned policy is discriminating since the vaccinated can still carry and transmit the virus.

    “Giving preferential and deferential treatment to the vaccinated over the unvaccinated bears poor scientific backing. No less than Republic Act 11525 or the Vaccination Program Act of 2021 states that vaccinated individuals shall not be considered immune from COVID-19 unless declared by the government based on reliable scientific evidence and consensus,” CIBAC representatives mentioned in the statement.

    “Until such time when there is conclusive scientific evidence that only unvaccinated individuals can transmit the virus, a sweeping discriminatory policy against them should take the back seat and, in case it will be resorted to, it should be done at the least restrictive means,” it added.

    EDSA

    Further, the two congressmen said that instead of the challenged procedure, the government should create policies that will unite, not divide, the people toward a safe and healthy return to normalcy, saying that the present program “communicates the divisive message that the unvaccinated are somehow less deserving of basic rights freely enjoyed by the vaccinated.”

    “Instead of tyrannically pushing the unvaccinated to a corner, the government should instead educate, promote transparency in vaccine information (both risks and benefits), reinforce safety protocols, and demonstrate trustworthiness by honoring the people’s Constitutional freedoms.”

    Meanwhile, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) said that the EDSA Busway system had a total ridership of more than 47 million last year.

    According to the government agency, the program had served a total of 47,104,197 commuters in 2021, reflecting an average of 129,000 daily.

    MMDA inspection

    Based on the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) records, it had consistently serviced more than 2 million commuters for the first three months of 2021: 2 million in January, 2.3 million in February, and 2.4 million in March, while 1.6 million was recorded in April as Metro Manila was placed under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ). EDSA Busway’s ridership increased once again in May with 2.6 million commuters.

    December 2021 registered the biggest number of commuters serviced: 7.6 million.

    Masaya kami na marami ang nakinabang at patuloy na nakikinabang sa EDSA Busway lalo na ngayong panahon ng pandemya. Para ito sa tao. Kung may episyente at organisadong sistema sa daan at kakambal nito ‘yung bawas pasanin sa pamasahe, hindi ‘ho ba’t malaking ginhawa ‘yan sa ating mga kababayan (We are happy that many have benefited and continue to benefit from EDSA Busway especially during this time of pandemic. This is for the public. If there is an efficient and organized system on the road and its twin, the reduced fare burden, isn't that a great relief to our countrymen?)?” DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade said.

    Photos from Ruben D. Manahan IV and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority

    Also read:

    Aspiring lawmaker seeks exemption of partially vaccinated from ‘no vax, no ride' policy

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