Cebu governor opposes no vaccination, no ride policy

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 19) — Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia has refused to implement the no vaccination, no ride policy, saying it discriminates against the unvaccinated.

“There will be no further requirement like the presentation of vaccination card. That is anti-poor,” Garcia said on Tuesday.

“How can you require everyone to have this vaccination card presented for them to avail of public transport? As I have always said, vaccination is a matter of choice. Give that respect to the individual,” she added.

The Department of Transportation has implemented the policy to control the spread of COVID-19. The policy requires commuters to present their vaccination card to avail of public transport.

Transportation Undersecretary Artemio Tuazon clarified that there are exemptions to the policy.

READ: DOTr clarifies: Unvaccinated, partially vaccinated workers allowed in public transport

As for Cebu province, Garcia said the local government “will not discriminate” the unvaccinated.

“If you choose not to be vaccinated, you should not be ostracized… It’s in the law itself... Why this discrimination against the unvaccinated, when even the vaccinated are not considered immune and may be carriers as well?” she pointed out.

The governor was referring to Republic Act No. 11525, or the COVID-19 Vaccination Program Act of 2021, which states that individuals vaccinated against COVID-19 shall not be considered immune to the disease unless declared by the Department of Health.

Garcia said that instead of implementing the no vaccination, no ride policy, she has ordered the establishment of border checkpoints to ensure health standards are being followed in public utility vehicles (PUVs), like no overloading and having proper ventilation. PUVs are also required to have passes and trip tickets issued by provincial terminals.

Meanwhile, Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama only encouraged establishments to come up with their own policies. He has not yet issued any recent directive related to vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals.

Based on latest government data, Cebu City has the most COVID-19 cases in Central Visayas with 45,466 cases, of which 2,566 are active cases. It was followed by Cebu Province with 40,326 cases, wherein 1,636 are active cases.