By Ernie Reyes
MANILA — Senator and Chair of the Senate Committee on Health Christopher “Bong” Go remarked earlier that he welcomes any investigation on the “no vaccine, no ride” policy if warranted and stressed the need to help the public understand better the policies being implemented in the fight against COVID-19.
“I welcome any investigation, if warranted. Dapat ipaintindi sa tao ang polisiya kaysa pag-awayan ito,” Go emphasized.
The statement came after a lawmaker filed House Resolution No. 2451 on Tuesday, urging the House of Representatives’ committees on health and transportation to conduct a joint inquiry on the alleged “illegal and discriminatory” policy which prohibits certain unvaccinated individuals from accessing public transport in Metro Manila.
“The ‘no vax, no ride’ policy, I am told, is designed to protect the unvaccinated individuals, considering that 85% of COVID-19 patients at the ICUs requiring mechanical ventilators in DOH hospitals in Metro Manila are not vaccinated,” he noted.
The senator reiterated that he supports warranted measures that would help curb the spread of COVID-19 in the country. He also underscored the need to come up with a comprehensive solution to protect the welfare of Filipinos while the government continues to strike a balance between public health and economic concerns.
“This policy, after all, is just one of the many pandemic measures, including guidelines on non-essential travels, health protocols, and activities, among others, that we had been implementing to regulate movements of people particularly amid increasing number of cases,” Go said.
The senator acknowledged that the said policy is aimed at ensuring the safety of the riding public and keeping public transportation running amid the surge in COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila, which is still under Alert Level 3.
According to the Department of Transportation, 23 passengers have tested positive in the free, random, and voluntary COVID-19 antigen testing being conducted in Metro Manila’s railways. Eight out of 96 tested passengers were from Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT-3),12 out of 85 from Light Rail Transit 2 (LRT-2), and three out of 47 from Philippine National Railways (PNR) stations.
Meanwhile, Go reiterated his appeal to eligible Filipinos to get vaccinated against COVID-19 saying, “Bagama’t hindi mandatory ang vaccination laban sa COVID-19 at hindi pwede pilitin ang tao, hikayatin pa rin natin ang mga hindi pa bakunado na magpabakuna na dahil maiiwasan natin ang malubhang sakit o maging kamatayan dahil sa COVID-19.”
“Ang bakuna ang susi natin para malampasan ang pandemya at makabalik na tayo sa normal na pamumuhay. Alalahanin natin na ang pagiging bakunado ay pagiging parte ng solusyon sa laban natin kontra COVID-19,” he ended.
As of January 19, the government has successfully administered 121.49 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines nationwide. Out of these numbers, about 56.44 million Filipinos are fully vaccinated while 59.43 million have received their first dose. Meanwhile, 5.61 million Filipinos already got their booster shots. (ai/mtvn)