A HOUSE leader has called on the government to revoke all its divisive policies against unvaccinated people, including “no vaccination, no ride” rule, which he branded as anti-people, anti-science, and anti-poor.
Deputy Speaker for Good Governance and Moral Uprightness Eduardo “Bro. Eddie” Villanueva said Department Order (DO) No. 2022-001 of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and similar “divisive measures only foment chaos and stigma.”
“Mocking the people’s God-given rights accomplishes nothing but confirms what many already suspect to be a bigger monster than COVID (coronavirus disease 2019): the government’s towering ineptitude to defang COVID,” Villanueva, representative of Citizens Battle Against Corruption (CIBAC), said.
“CIBAC calls on national and local governments to do away with brash crackdowns on the unvaccinated,” Villanueva said.
In these difficult times, Villanueva said “what we need are policies that will unite, not divide, the people toward a safe and healthy return to normalcy.”
“No Vax, No Ride communicates the divisive message that the unvaccinated are somehow less deserving of basic rights freely enjoyed by the vaccinated. This is antithetical to national healing and recovery,” Villanueva said.
Villanueva asserted the fundamental truth that public restrictions targeting a segment of the population based on their health status and personal conviction is discriminatory and flagrantly intrusive of Filipinos’ basic rights.
“Thus, CIBAC opposes the No Vax, No Ride scheme enforced by the Department of Transportation for being anti-poor, anti-science, and, ultimately, anti-people,” Villanueva said.
“A broad-sweeping ban against the unvaccinated on the use of public utility vehicles (PUV) renders a huge swath of low-income Filipinos immobile. They are hit the hardest by what is effectively a travel ban,” Villanueva said.
Villanueva lamented that the vaccinated can still carry and transmit the virus.
“In fact, several studies suggest that natural immunity in unvaccinated individuals who have recovered from COVID may be more robust than vaccine-induced immunity. Giving preferential and deferential treatment to the vaccinated over the unvaccinated bears poor scientific backing,” Villanueva said.
“No less than Republic Act 11525 or the Vaccination Program Act of 2021 states that vaccinated individuals shall not be considered immune from COVID-19 unless declared by the government based on reliable scientific evidence and consensus. Until such time when there is conclusive scientific evidence that only unvaccinated individuals can transmit the virus, a sweeping discriminatory policy against them should take the back seat and, in case it will be resorted to, it should be done at the least restrictive means,” Villanueva added.
Villanueva said the government should instead educate, promote transparency in vaccine information (both risks and benefits), reinforce safety protocols, and demonstrate trustworthiness by honoring the people’s constitutional freedoms.
“The overwhelming majority of our population wants to be fully vaccinated. According to the latest survey by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) released this week, only a meager 8% are vaccine-hesitant. In addition, latest data from the Department of Heath show that only around 60 million Filipinos were given the first (1st) dose of the jab. A fatal combination of poor vaccine supply access and vaccine deployment inefficiency remains to plague the government. This should be addressed first. Ramp up vaccine rollout and access now. Increase the vaccination rate now. Cater to the 92% who want to be fully vaccinated now,” Villanueva added.