MANILA, Philippines— Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan on Tuesday asked the government to end its “no vaccination, no ride” policy supposedly intended to curb the spread of COVID-19.
“Magiging source lang ng paninikil at pang-aabuso. Hindi solusyon sa COVID-19 ang panggigipit at pananakot,” Pangilinan said in a text message as the government began implementing the policy this week.
(It will only lead to oppression and abuse. COVID-19 cannot be solved through harassment and intimidation.)
Instead of completely halting it, presidential aspirant Senator Panfilo Lacson urged the government to take a “second hard look” at this new policy.
“Not stop but take a second hard look at the policy,” Lacson said in a separate text message when sought for comment on Pangilinan’s call.
“Gather more data and study further the science behind the policy, particularly the effect of full vaccination vs transmissibility, not to mention the human rights aspect on the poor who have no choice but commute to earn their daily meals.”
“Speaking for myself, I am fully vaccinated and boosted, but I got infected by the Omicron variant. Many of my friends and relatives, similarly situated, also got the Omicron virus,” Lacson added.
Pangilinan believes, however, that this “draconian” policy will all the more punish the poor, who will now be prevented from using public transportation unless they are vaccinated against COVID-19.
“Parusa itong no-vax, no-ride policy sa mga mahihirap nating kababayan na gusto lang maghanapbuhay, at walang sariling sasakyan. Dagdag parusa rin sa mga naka-first dose lang kung hindi pa sila papayagang makagamit ng mass transport,” the presidential aspirant said in a statement.
(No vaccination, no ride policy penalizes the poor who only want to work and do not own a car. Those who received their first dose and cannot use mass transportation are subjected to an additional burden.)
“Sigurado ako na kung pwede lang silang mag work-from-home ay gagawin nila, pero hindi e. Halata na ang target ng polisiyang ito ay ang ating mahihirap na kababayan,” he added.
(I’m sure that if they are only allowed to work from home, they will do it, but they are not. It’s evident that the target of this policy is our poor countrymen)
Pangilinan said it is also unfair to attribute the rise of COVID-19 cases to unvaccinated individuals because there is no science backing this claim. Besides, he said, vaccinated individuals are still prone to carry the virus, hence the term “asymptomatic.”
“Kahit na ikulong pang lahat ang mga di pa napabakunahan, kakalat pa rin ang COVID dahil merong mga bakunado na asymptomatic,” Pangilinan said, referring to another policy suggesting to bar the unvaccinated from leaving home.
(Even if you jail all unvaccinated individuals, COVID will continue to spread because there are vaccinated who are asymptomatic)
Instead of enforcing the “no-vaccination, no-ride” policy, the senator urged the national government to make inoculation convenient by setting up vaccination stations in transportation hubs and other such places.