‘No vax, no ride’: Public transport scheme in the Philippines faces heavy criticism.
THE government in the Philippines is facing heavy criticism and backlash from humanitarian groups who are calling the country’s public transport scheme ‘no vax, no ride’ unacceptable.
Earlier this week, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) announced plans for passengers wanting to use public buses, jeepneys, trains, boats or planes in Metro Manila to show proof of vaccination. The news comes after President Rodrigo Duterte threatened to arrest people not vaccinated against Covid-19 who refused to stay at home, according to Rappler.
The ‘no vaccination, no ride’ rule was announced on Wednesday, January 12: “All concerned attached agencies and sectoral offices of DOTr are directed to ensure that operators of public transportation shall allow access or issue tickets only to ‘fully vaccinated persons’ as evidenced by a physical or digital copy of an LGU (local government unit)-issued vaccine card, or any IATF-prescribed document, with a valid government-issued ID with picture and address,” the DOTr department order read.
However, the controversial ban on unvaccinated public transport users has been met with condemnation.
Amnesty International slammed the policy stating: “The way out of this pandemic is not to impose unacceptably disproportionate restrictions and punishment on those who are unvaccinated,” Butch Olano of Amnesty International Philippines said.
He warned the rule would unfairly target the poor who cannot work from home and “further erode trust in the government”.
The Philippine Commission on Human Rights said earlier the travel restrictions “effectively restricts the exercise and enjoyment of fundamental rights.”
The Department of Transportation defended the “temporary” policy stating that it was designed to protect everyone. The DOTr stressed that the decision would help the country avoid an “economically damaging shutdown of the public transport system during the latest spike”.
“We believe that it is more anti-poor and anti-life if we will not impose interventions that will prevent loss of life due to non-vaccinations,” it said.
New cases recorded on Thursday, January 13 show that a record 34,021 have been with just over three million people in the Philippines infected since the start of the pandemic.
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