Ex-VP Binay urges gov’t to reconsider plan of ‘no vax, no subsidy’ to 4Ps folk
MANILA, Philippines — Senatorial aspirant and former Vice President Jejomar Binay called on the government on Sunday to reconsider its proposed “no COVID-19 vaccine, no subsidy” policy for beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps.
“The people need to be convinced, not punished. Ang hindi pagbibigay ng 4Ps sa mga recipient na ayaw magpa-bakuna ay isang parusa (Not giving 4Ps to recipients who don’t want the vaccine is a punishment),” Binay said in a statement.
“Ang mga recipient ng 4Ps ay galing sa poorest of the poor. Sa panahon ng pandemya, 4Ps ang nagiging pantawid sa buhay ng mahihirap nating kababayan. Huwag na sana silang pahirapan pa,” he added.
(Recipients of 4Ps come from the poorest of the poor. In times of the pandemic, 4Ps is the solution to their struggles. Let us not burden them more.)
His remark came after the Department of the Interior and Local Government raised to withhold aid for unvaccinated individuals, saying “many” of the four million beneficiaries are not immunized or refuse vaccination.
Citing the recent Social Weather Stations survey, Binay said that “vaccine hesitancy has been declining.”
“Vaccine hesitancy is not confined to the poor. It cuts across all economic classes. If government were to punish the poor and not take similar measures on the rich and middle class who are hesitant to be vaccinated, government may be accused of being discriminatory, anti-poor, and un-Christian,” he further noted.
According to Binay, the government should ponder on providing incentives instead of withholding the subsidy.
“This is what many local governments have been doing, and they have been successful. Again, the national government can learn more from the local governments,” he said.
“In times like these, especially when the pandemic has hit the poor the hardest, let us try to be more compassionate,” he went on.
Moreover, Binay pushed to immunize more workers and economic frontliners as they will drive the revival of the country’s economy.
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