Senator Christopher “Bong” Go on Wednesday defended the Department of Transportation’s (DOTr) move to implement the “no vaccine, no ride” policy in Metro Manila despite the public’s uproar against it.
Go, who chairs the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, also said he would welcome any possible investigation or congressional inquiry into the policy.
“I welcome any investigation, if warranted. Dapat ipaintindi sa tao ang polisiya kaysa pag-awayan ito (The people need to understand this policy instead of arguing about it),” Go said in a statement.
“The ‘no vax, no ride’ policy, I am told, is designed to protect the unvaccinated individuals, considering that 85 percent of COVID-19 patients at the ICUs requiring mechanical ventilators in DOH hospitals in Metro Manila are not vaccinated,” Go stressed.
“This policy, after all, is just one of the many pandemic measures, including guidelines on non-essential travels, health protocols, and activities, among others, that we had been implementing to regulate movements of people particularly amid increasing number of cases. Metro Manila is presently under Alert Level 3,” he pointed out.
Go also explained that though the vaccination against COVID-19 is not mandatory and that they cannot force people to get inoculated, the government will still encourage the unvaccinated to get agree to the process.
“Ang bakuna ang susi natin para malampasan ang pandemya at makabalik na tayo sa normal na pamumuhay. Alalahanin natin na ang pagiging bakunado ay pagiging parte ng solusyon sa laban natin kontra COVID-19 (Vaccination is key for us to overcome this pandemic and for us to return to our normal lives. Let’s remember that being vaccinated is being part of the solution in the fight against COVID-19),” he stressed.
But sought for comment, Sen. Risa Hontiveros said the “no vaccine, no ride” policy only caused confusion among commuters especially due to its discriminatory tendencies.
“Sa totoo lang, nakakagulo lang ang ‘No vaccination, no ride’ policy. Wala sanang kailangang linawin kung pinag-isipan at dumaan ito sa konsultasyon bago ipinatupad. Binulabog lang nila ang mga commuters, (the truth is, the policy only created confusion. There’s no need for any explanation if they made consultations first before they implemented it. They only disturbed the commuters),” Hontiveros said.
Hontiveros said it makes no sense to prove that a worker is an “essential worker” before he can ride public transportation.
“Paano naman ang nasa (How about those part of the) informal economy at yung mga naghahanap ng trabahong (and those who are looking for a job but are) unvaccinated or partially vaccinated, hindi ba sila papasakayin (can’t they be allowed to ride)?” she pointed out.
The senator said the government should consider that at this point, more workers will look for ways to get employed and find ways to earn money.
“Ngayong panahon ng pandemya, lahat ng diskarte para kumita at makapaghanapbuhay ay essential (During this time of a pandemic, all the strategy to earn money and find work is essential). All workers are essential workers,” Hontiveros stressed.
“Essential service ang pampublikong transportasyon para sa lahat. Hindi ito dapat ipinagkakait lalo pa sa ating mga manggagawa, vaccinated man o hindi (Public transportation is an essential service for everyone. All our workers, whether vaccinated or not, should not be deprived of it),” she stressed.