FACT CHECK: Are all commuters dismayed over the lifting of the ‘No Vax, No Ride Policy’?
February 16, 2022

On February 14, Facebook page Usaping Bayan, which is affiliated with Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI), posted a video with the caption, “Nanghinayang ang mga commuter sa pag-alis ng No Vax, No Ride policy, ayon sa I-ACT.”

SMNI Reporter Sheen Torno was shown interviewing the Overall Commander of IATF Special Operations Unit, Ret. Col. Manuel Bonnevie. Bonnevie gave an update on the health protocols in public transportation and claimed that they got feedback from commuters that they are “disappointed” over the decision to lift the “no vaccination, no ride” policy in the National Capital Region following the implementation of COVID-19 Alert Level 2 this month.

Instead of verifying Bonnevie’s claim, however, the SMNI reporter simply wrapped up the report by making it appear that there is blanket disappointment over the said development.

CLAIM:

Commuters are disappointed over the lifting the ‘no vax, no ride’ policy in NCR

RATING:

MISSING CONTEXT

FACTS:

SMNI has overtly manipulated the report to make it appear that the general public is dismayed over the lifting of the ‘no vax, no ride’ policy. But instead of interviewing actual commuters, the reporter only relied on the claims of a government official.

Other media networks have reported on the same development in a more balanced manner. In a report in 24 Oras, some commuters who were interviewed said they were in favor of the policy because it assures them of their safety. Meanwhile, others said that they are pleased that the policy has been lifted because it poses less hassle for rushing commuters.

The Usaping Bayan report is also devoid of essential context, especially the feedback of critics of the ‘no vax, no ride’ policy. The Commission on Human Rights, for one, questioned the policy for unjustly restricting the people’s right to free movement. In an interview with Malou Mangahas, CHR Commissioner Gwendolyn Pimentel-Gana said that there are other solutions to combat the transmission of COVID-19, instead of restricting the actions of unvaccinated individuals. Pimentel-Gana also emphasized that the government’s policies should protect both the vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals.

The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) has also questioned the wisdom and legality of the ‘no vax, no ride’ policy recently, noting that the 1987 Constitution provides that “neither shall the right of travel be impaired except in the interest of national security, public safety, or public health, as may be provided by law.” In a statement, the IBP noted that current laws concerning the government’s COVID-19 pandemic response have no provisions authorizing the limitation of right to travel based on their vaccination status.

WHY IT MATTERS:

Usaping Bayan is a TV show of SMNI News Channel. As of writing, the video has reached 5,100 views, 118 reactions, and five shares. The Facebook page also has 209,263 followers. By making it appear that the general public is dismayed over the lifting of the ‘no vax, no ride’ policy, the report skewed public perception by essentially silencing and disenfranchising groups and many other commuters who have differing opinions and voice out relevant concerns over the policy. – Vanessa Adolfo & Jamaica Marciano

Altermidya Network is part of #FactsFirstPH which brings together various sectors that are committed to promoting truth in the public space, and exacting accountability on those who harm it with lies. For those interested to join the initiative, email info@factsfirst.ph.

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