Solon wants House probe on ‘no vax, no ride’ policy
MANILA, Philippines — A lawmaker in the House of Representatives is pushing for an inquiry into the controversial “no vaccination, no ride” policy of the Department of Transportation (DOTr).
Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Arlene Brosas Under on Tuesday filed House Resolution No. 2451, urging the committee on health and the committee on transportation to conduct a joint inquiry on what she calls as an “illegal and discriminatory” policy which prohibits certain unvaccinated individuals from accessing public transport in Metro Manila.
Brosas said Republic Act No. 11525 or the COVID-19 Vaccination Program Act of 2021 states that vaccination cards “shall not be considered as an additional mandatory requirement for educational, employment, and other similar government transaction purposes.”
“The department order is devoid of any legal basis nor scientific explanation for the blatant discrimination of commuters which have negatively affected their job and livelihood,” Brosas said in the resolution.
Citing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Brosas said regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status, “the law is the same for everyone and therefore they must be treated equally.”
“There are other preventive strategies that we can adopt in order to mitigate the spread of the Omicron variant and encourage citizens to get vaccinated without having to set aside their basic human rights and this includes aggressive information dissemination that aims to mass educate communities at the barangay level, especially those without access to the internet,” Brosas said.
“The government must steer away from its anti-poor and anti-people policy-making schemes and adopt a rights-based approach in handling the COVID-19 surge through efficient surveillance system, free mass testing, contact tracing, isolation, and treatment,” she added.
There have been reports of passengers—some are partially vaccinated—who were unable to go to their workplaces after being prohibited to use public transport.
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said Tuesday that workers with proper identification are exempted from the “no vaccination, no ride” policy.
Some lawmakers have also asked that the policy be reviewed or scrapped.
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