No need to say sorry, Pacquiao tells woman who slammed ‘no vaxx, no ride’ policy

Presidential candidate and former boxing champion Manny Pacquiao on Friday said there is no need for Gemma Parina, an unvaccinated street vendor, to apologize for her outburst that went viral online because of the “no vaccine, no ride” policy of the government.

“Ipinahayag lang po ni Aling Gemma ang saloobin ng milyong mahihirap na kababayan natin na pinarurusahan sa halip na kumbunsihin para magpabakuna,” Pacquioa said.

(Aling Gemma was just expressing the grievance of millions of poor people who are unvaccinated, who should be encouraged to get vaccinated instead of being punished.)

Pacquiao had earlier opposed the policy of prohibiting the unvaccinated from using public transportation, saying it will affect those who are the poor the most.

“As Aling Gemma expressed, it is the poor who are most affected by the no vaccine, no ride policy. Government should be more creative and compassionate in its COVID response, so as not to aggravate the situation of our ordinary people,” he added.

“Sa sitwasyong ganito, lamang na lamang ang mayayaman at may kaya na may sariling sasakyan at di kailangang lumabas para maghanapbuhay, o umoorder na m ng kanilang pangangailangan. Papaano ang walang kakayanan?” he asked.

(In situations like these, the rich and well-to-do are always in the advantage because they have cars and they can always order their needs online. What about those who cannot?)

Pacquiao also reminded the government that under Section 12 of Republic Act 11525 or the Covid-19 Vaccinate Program Act, vaccination cards are not considered as additional “mandatory requirement for educational, employment, and other similar government transaction purposes.”

“ I’m calling on our LGUs, the DoTR, the DILG and other government offices to implement RA 11525 properly. Kahit di po ako abogado, malinaw na sinasabi sa batas na ito na bawal gawin na requirement ang vaccine cards sa mga government matters, kasama dito ang trasportation. Kaya bawal na pigilan sa pantalan o sa anumang public transportation ang mga wala pang vaccine,” Pacquiao said.

(I’m calling on our LGUs, the DoTr, the DILG, and other government offices to implement RA 11525 properly. I am not a lawyer but the law clearly provides that the use of vaccine cards is not mandatory on government matters, including transportation. That is why it is unlawful to prevent unvaccinated people to have access to our ports or to any public transportation.)

Pacquiao added Section 2 of RA 11525 has also acknowledged the fact that the government’s vaccination program is experimental in nature and cannot guarantee its efficacy and safety, thereby validating apprehensions by people like Mrs. Parina to get vaccinated.

In an online video that went viral and applauded by street vendors, Parina vented her anger on the government and the President for the restrictive policy. She, however, apologized for her outburst the next day. It was not clear who caused her to apologize but still called out on the anti-poor policies of the government.

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