SP Sotto, Sen. Pacquiao oppose ‘no vax, no ride’ policy

SP Sotto, Sen. Pacquiao oppose ‘no vax, no ride’ policy

Senator Manny Pacquiao

By Tracy Cabrera

MANILA — Senate President Vicente ‘Tito’ Sotto III branded the decision of imposing restrictions on unvaccinated individuals as discriminatory and to this Senator Manny Pacquiao also highly agrees by rejecting the policy and saying that government should instead initiate free and accessible rapid antigen and RT-PCR tests.

Sotto particularly criticized the ‘no vaccine, no ride’ policy to be implemented on public utility transportation and urged the government to be more creative in convincing more individuals to avail of the government’s free vaccination program.

“Malacanang’s policy is discriminating and it would only stir resentment among the unvaccinated, all the more discouraging them from getting the vaccine against Covid-19.

On the other hand, Pacquiao questioned the lack of a uniform and reliable contact tracing mobile application even as he pointed out that the country can manage the pandemic better through mass testing and effective contact tracing.

“Imbes na pagbawalan natin ang mga unvaccinated na lumabas at maghanapbuhay, mas maganda na gawin nating libre at accessible ang antigen test. At kapag positive ang isang natest, libre din ang isasagawang confirmatory RT-PCR test. Kailangan natin palakasin ang mass testing natin sa halip na i-discriminate ang mga hindi pa bakunado,” the People’s Champ, who is running for president under PROMDI, stressed.

Pacquiao likewise said that the strategy he is suggesting in place of the unvaccinated restriction policy would allow health authorities to properly segregate and isolate those who are sick without the need to curtail the basic rights of those who are unvaccinated.

Moreover, he noted that this would provide the government with the best tool to handle the pandemic without resorting to heightened alert levels and community lockdowns.

“Antigen testing facilities should be established in every barangay, health center, mall, and workplace,” he said although reiterating his support for the government’s vaccination campaign and yet reminding authorities that people cannot be compelled to be vaccinated—notably those who have medical conditions and those who are held back by their religious beliefs.

“Bagama’t totoong mas mataas ang peligro ng mga hindi bakunado, hindi ito batayan para tratuhin sila na parang may mga nagawang paglabag sa batas lalo’t tama naman ang obserbasyon na pareho pa rin namang nagkakasakit at nakakahawa ang mga bakunado at hindi bakunado,” he said.

As a final word, Pacquiao then expressed wonder why after more than two years into the Covid-19 pandemic, the government has yet to come up with a universal and integrated contact tracing system.

“Bakit hindi na lang Staysafe ang gamitin? Bakit hindi ayusin ng DICT (Department of Information and Communications Technology) iyong app para magkaroon tayo ng central database? Puwede ngang ayusin pa ito para automatic na makakatanggap ka ng message kapag meron kang close contacts (na) Covid-positive at bigyan ka ng impormasyon kung ano ang iyong dapat gawin,” he concluded. (ai/mtvn)

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