The vaccines may be available, but are they accessible?
On this note, Partido Reporma Chairman and standard-bearer Sen. Panfilo "Ping" M. Lacson said authorities should make sure Covid vaccines are accessible to the public, before clamping down on the "No Vaccination, No Ride" policy with stiff fines and penalties.
Lacson pointed out that the vaccines may not be accessible especially to those without an internet connection, because they usually entail online registration.
"Ang availability, walang problema. Pero accessibility - kasi hindi lahat may capability mag-apply online (We have no problem with the availability of vaccines. But accessibility is a different matter because not all have access to the internet and thus cannot apply)," he said in an interview on "The Chiefs" on One News Monday evening.
Citing a recent study, he said only 52 percent of Filipinos have access to the internet, while at least 45 percent of the population have not accessed the internet.
"So kung walang capability ang iba para mag-apply online, problema yan. Kailangan mag-provide ang gobyerno; bukod sa available, ang bakuna kailangan accessible (If there are Filipinos who do not have the capability to apply online, that's a problem. The government must provide a solution. It must make sure that vaccines are not only available but also accessible)," he stressed.
Otherwise, he said it would be unfair for Filipinos who do not have access to vaccines to be robbed of their livelihood because they cannot take public transport.
"Kung hindi sapat even for the willing, unfair yata na hindi mo pasasakayin. Hindi pwede mag-commute pero walang enough vaccines ang gobyerno... Ang importante, accessibility and availability (If vaccines are not made accessible even for those willing to be vaccinated, it is unfair that they are denied the right to take public transport, just because the government failed to make enough vaccines accessible. Accessibility and availability are the key)," he said.
Meanwhile, Lacson reiterated the importance of contact tracing in combating the pandemic "Hindi pwede ito i-disregard (Its importance cannot be disregarded)," he said.
Lacson, who is running for President under Partido Reporma, has vowed to make lives of Filipinos better through his slogan "Aayusin ang Gobyerno, Aayusin ang Buhay ng Bawat Pilipino (We will fix the government and fix the lives of Filipinos)."