SENATOR Manny Pacquiao on Saturday 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,” Pacquiao said.
Pacquiao had earlier opposed the policy of prohibiting the unvaccinated from using public transportation, saying it will affect the poor 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 lang ng kanilang pangangailangan. Papaano ang walang kakayanan?” he asked.
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 an additional “mandatory requirement for educational, employment, and other similar government transaction purposes.”
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.