Hontiveros, De Lima oppose mandatory vaccination of 4Ps recipients

Published May 19, 2021, 3:42 PM

by Hannah Torregoza 

Two opposition senators on Wednesday, May 19 cried foul over a Malacanang official’s suggestion to require coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination for beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps before receiving any government’s cash assistance.

“Hindi dapat binubully ang publiko para magpabakuna. Kaunting galang at respeto naman sa mga mahihirap. Walang kondisyon sa 4Ps law na kailangan vaccinated ang recipients (The public should not be bullied to get vaccinated. Let’s show some respect to our poor people. There’s nothing in the 4Ps law that require its recipients to be vaccinated),” Sen. Risa Hontiveros said in a statement.

Hontiveros said the government does not need to force and threaten indigent citizens when they even allowed some high government officials and some personalities to cut the line when they were not supposedly included in the priority list.

“Imbes na pananakot, incentives ang dapat na ialok sa publiko para sila ay magpapabakuna. Tulad, halimbawa, ng grocery packs o kaya naman ay (Instead of threatening them, they should offer incentives to the public so they can get vaccinated. Like grocery packs or maybe a promise of a) paid vacation leave,” she pointed out.

Sen. Leila de Lima also echoed Hontiveros call saying presidential spokesperson Harry Roque’s attempt to hold the 4Ps aid hostage by proposing to make the vaccination a requirement for the poorest Filipinos is illegal.

“The chance to get vaccinated means so much more to the poor who have to go out every day to earn a living compared to the rich and affluent who can opt to wait out the virus in their homes. Why would they hesitate?” said De Lima, principal sponsor and author of the 4Ps law.

“Hindi pamimilit ang paraan para mabakunahan ang mga kababayan natin na nag-aalangan magpabakuna. Sa totoo lang, yung kalokohan ni Duterte at ng PSG ang nagsimula ng problema (They should not resort to force just to ensure the people get vaccinated. The reality is, it is just Duterte and the Presidential Security Group who started the problem),” she said.

“Sa paggiit nila na mas mabuti yung smuggled na bakuna nila kaysa sa mga tried and tested na brand, bumaba ang kumpiyansa ng kanyang tagasuporta sa bakuna (When they insisted that smuggled vaccines is much better than the tried and tested brand, the public’s confidence on vaccines waned),” she pointed out.

Instead of mouthing off absurdities, De Lima said President Duterte and Roque should use their platforms to ensure that the vaccines are both safe and essential.

“Ang 4Ps ay tulong sa ating mga kababayan na nangangailangan. Hindi ito kasangkapan para pilitin ang mga tao na naghahanap ng paglilinaw at impormasyon sa bakuna, (The 4Ps is an excellent way to help our people who are desperately in need. This should not be used as a venue to force people who need information and enlightenment about the vaccines),” she said.

“Kesa mang-troll sila ng opposition, gamitin na lang nila ang boses nila para hikayatin ang tagasuporta na magpabakuna (Instead of trolling the opposition, they should use their voices to convince their supporters to get vaccinated),” De Lima stressed.