Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima slammed the government’s conflicting statements on the “no vaccination, no ride” policy in Metro Manila’s public transportation following public uproar and criticism over the policy.
De Lima, a social justice and human rights champion, lamented the Duterte administration’s recent flip-flop on its “no vax-no ride policy” not once, but twice, in a matter of 24 hours.
“This is how the Duterte government plays with the lives and livelihoods of ordinary Filipinos. The flip-flopping nature of its policies depend largely on who is speaking on the government podium at a particular point,” she said.
Last January 17, the Department of Transportation (DoTr) started the implementation of its “no vaccination, no ride” policy in Metro Manila’s public transportation to further restrict the movement of unvaccinated individuals.
However, after receiving flak for the number of workers unable to go to work because of the said policy, Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III said that all workers are exempt from the policy after all because all work is essential.
“Of course, this was not the original intent of the policy before it exploded in their faces. Even the IATF defines what essential industries that provide goods and services are. But Sec. Bello thinks that all industries are essential, therefore, all work is essential. With this DOLE pronouncement, and a most benevolent one, practically everyone is exempted, making the policy in relation to its objective basically useless,” De Lima said.
The DoTr, for its part, came up with another pronouncement only several hours later after the issuance of DOLE’s statement, clarifying that only employees working for establishments allowed to operate under alert level 3 will be exempted.
The lady Senator from Bicol said the government’s conflicting pronouncements before the media only confuse the Filipino public as it also highlights the lack of coordination between officials.
“For some reason, high officials of this government belonging to the IATF apparently still have not managed to create their own chat group,” she said.
“Two years into the pandemic, the Duterte administration still cannot get its act together, even on the simple matter of what workers are exempted from the “no vax, no ride” policy. Clearly, up to now, leadership seems to evade this administration. Ang hilig kase ng gobyernong ito mag “ouido” sa polisiya gamit ang kabuhayan at buhay ng mga tao,” she added. (30)