Justifies curbs on unvaxxed as ‘greatest good for greatest number’
President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday defended his “no vax, no ride” policy as part of mobility curbs for unvaccinated people amid the soaring cases of COVID-19.
Duterte made the statement as the Department of Transportation warned that public utility vehicle drivers who violate the policy will be slapped with a P5,000 fine for their first offense.
“Public good remains high in the hierarchy of things. The greatest good for the greatest number—that is a dictum that must be remembered when Constitutional provisions are being put to issue,” he said.
“The duty of government in a democracy is the greatest good for the greatest number. It means in a democracy, the majority prevails,” the President added.
Duterte said when the interest of the community comes into play with existing Constitutional provisions, and taking into consideration the prevailing state of the country – such as the ongoing pandemic – “government can always come up with measures that can intrude into your rights.”
Meanwhile, the Transportation Department warned of fines and penalties against erring drivers as the government on Monday enforced its “no vaccination, no ride” policy in Metro Manila, prohibiting the unvaccinated from taking public transportation.
The policy also exasperated some would-be passengers who were denied a law. No person can be denied equal protection of the law.”
“I think the policy of the mayors is highly unconstitutional and against the law because RA 11525 states that vaccine cards shall not be necessary for education, any transactions and yet they are…violating the law indirectly,” she told an interview over ANC’s Headstart.
The PAO chief said she has not yet taken the jab since she is still waiting for a protein-based COVID-19 vaccine.
She, however, spared President Rodrigo Duterte from any accountability for the nationwide no-vaccine no-ride policy.
“We cannot blame the President because he believes the only way to curb the pandemic is by vaccination,” Acosta said.
“I respect the President. He’s like a father to us. He’s just doing his best so that people will be saved from the pandemic. He has not told anyone to violate the Constitution,” she added.
Meanwhile, the Quezon City government said residents who are unvaccinated but who have existing medical conditions are exempted from undergoing reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests and can still go to work as long as they present a medical certificate.
City Ordinance No. 3076, s-2022, and Metro Manila Council Resolution No.22-01, s-2022, issued early January, limit the movements of unvaccinated people and impose fines on violators.
Based on the ordinance, unvaccinated people are allowed to go to work but must undergo COVID-19 swab tests every two weeks at their own expense.
The city government said an employer may give the unvaccinated employee up to one month before requiring the swab test.
Violators of the ordinance will be fined P500 for the first offense, P1,000 for the second offense, and P3,000 for the third offense.
Establishments that will allow entry of unvaccinated individuals for non-essential activities will also be fined P3,000 for the first offense, P5,000 with the suspension of business permit and temporary closure order for the second offense, and P5,000 and cancellation of business permit and closure order for the third offense.