‘Nasaan ang malasakit?’: ‘No vax, no ride’ policy seen illogical, anti-commuter

January 18, 2022 - 1:29 PM
Passengers inside an e-jeepney showed their vaccination cards to a bus conductor before departure at the terminal at the corner of Soliven and Litex Road along Commonwealth Avenue, Quezon City (PNA photo by Ben Briones)

The government’s “no vaccine, no ride” policy drew flak online following a video report on a commuting who was affected by its implementation.

In a GMA News report on Monday, January 17, a commuter identified as Diane was prohibited from taking a bus along EDSA because she was only partially vaccinated.

The commuter said that she received her first shot of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine last December.

However, her second dose is scheduled in February.

“Nagpa-vaccine naman kami. Hindi naman namin kasalanan na yung second dose namin February pa,” she was quoted as saying.

Because of this, commuter  teared up during the interview with reporter Oscar Oida.

She said that she was supposed to attend her medical exam for work.

“Nakakapagod ‘yung ginagawa nila. Wala namang ano…Partially vaccinated naman kami. Bakit ‘di kami pinayagan? Nagagastuhan na ko ng pamasahe,” she was quoted in the report as saying.

The report also mentioned that some unvaccinated construction workers were forced to return home after they were banned from riding public utility vehicles.

The Department of Transportation previously said only fully vaccinated individuals will be allowed to travel in the National Capital Region.

This also applies on domestic travels to, from and within NCR, via land, rail, sea, and air public transport.

Non-residents must also comply with the “no vaccine, no ride” policy.

The policy took effect on Monday, January 17 and will last while the region is in Alert Level 3 or higher.

Commuters have to present digital or physical copies of their vaccination cards issued by their local government units or the vaccination certificate from the national government through the VaxCertPH website.

This order previously drew numerous criticisms from private transport advocates and concerned Filipinos.

They perceived the directive to be too burdensome and inhumane to Filipino workers, PUV drivers and operators.

READ: Commuters give suggestions amid ‘no vax, no ride’ policy in NCR

Renewed criticisms

The video report circulated on Twitter and sparked renewed criticisms at the “no vaccine, no ride” policy online.

Some online users perceived Diane’s situation as proof of how inconsiderate the new directive for the unvaccinated is to the plight of ordinary Filipinos.

“In a country where transportation policies are made by those who do not take public transportation, the policies will always be thoughtlessly anti-poor and anti-commuter,” wrote Kenneth Glenn Manuel with the handle @theklmanuel, 2019 Bar exam topnotcher.

“Bakit pinaparusahan ang ating mga kababayan sa isang bagay na hindi naman nila kasalanan?” said lawyer Gideon Peña.

“All I feel from this video clip is pure rage at the incompetence. The policy is not only illogical, it is stupid and wasteful. Nasaan ang malasakit?!” historian Kristoffer Pasion said.

Others also expressed sympathy for the worker’s frustrations.

“Cruelty is a state policy. She got AZ, so her doses are three months apart. Her employer will let her work. Her bus driver will let her get on the bus. But the state won’t. None of this is her fault,” a Twitter user said.

Some also pointed out that this mandate will only lead to fake vaccination cards.

“This no vaxx, no ride policy will only encourage proliferation of fake vaccine cards,” journalist Prinz Magtulis said.

On Tuesday, Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the no vax, no ride policy does not apply on workers.