After day 1 of ‘no vax, no ride’ rule, public slams policy for being ‘anti-poor’

·3 min read

After the “no vaccination, no ride” policy began its implementation on Monday, the public has called on the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to reconsider the new scheme for being allegedly “anti-poor.”

The transport bureau’s order currently bars both unvaccinated and partially vaccinated individuals to ride all forms of public transportation, adding that operators should “allow access or issue tickets only to fully-vaccinated persons as evidenced by physical or digital copies of an LGU-issued vaccine card.”

Yet while well-meaning, the implementation of the order has met its share of criticism online as users called the new rule “discriminatory.”

“How many of them depend on a daily wage? How many can’t get to work and feed their families because of DOTr’s decision to impose an anti-people policy instead of supporting mass vaccination and testing?” Mon Sy, a Philippine Studies professor at UP Diliman, asked.

Meanwhile, another user questioned DOTr’s ability to verify the authenticity of vaccination cards.

Redditors also doubted the policy’s effectiveness and raised loopholes.

“How will the unvaxxed get to the vaccination site if they can’t ride public transport? Are we expecting them to walk on site?” One commenter asked.

“Yes so that people will get even more infected while walking on crowded streets,” another answered with sarcasm.

“Hahaha it’s because those in charge don’t even think,” a user wrote. “They’re likely a bunch of old people making decisions who would get angry if someone else suggests otherwise.”

Meanwhile, groups such as Akbayan urged DOTr to reconsider barring partially vaccinated commuters to ride public transport systems.

“Partially vaccinated people are on the path to full vaccination. The commitment to keep themselves healthy and safe is there. As such, it is only fair that as they wait for their second doses, they are not deprived of essential services like public transportation,” Akbayan party-list second nominee RJ Naguit said in a statement.

Naguit added that while they support policies that protect the public, “These regulations must be reasonably practical and responsive to the people’s concrete realities and experiences.”

Meanwhile, Rep. Arlene Brosas of Gabriela Partylist said that the “no vax, no ride” policy had “no legal basis,” adding that the scheme was an unnecessary hassle to drivers and commuters.

“The DOTr cannot just invoke the pandemic to issue a discriminatory department order at whim,” Rep. Brosas said. “Public health is not their expertise.”

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