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DoTr: Majority’s safety first

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The Department of Transportation (DoTr) on Wednesday reiterated that it’s not anti-poor, draconian, or punitive to require passengers to present a Covid-19 vaccination card before being allowed in public transportation.

It said the order only intends to promote and protect public health.

“Infecting other people by being unvaccinated against Covid-19 is more anti-poor and anti-life than this policy. Severe Covid infections caused by non-vaccination result in an undue burden on our health care system. Worse, if they infect our public transport personnel,” Transportation Assistant Secretary Goddes Hope Libiran said in a text message to reporters on Wednesday.

“We want to prevent a repeat of the public transport shut down, like what happened in MRT, LRT, and PNR in the past, as most front-facing passengers were infected with the virus. We are doing everything we can to maintain and keep our public transport operations safe and running,” she added.

On Tuesday, 11 January, Transportation Secretary Arthur P. Tugade issued a Department Order (DO) enforcing a “no vaccination, no ride/no entry” policy in the National Capital Region (NCR).

Tugade said the policy will be in effect while an Alert Level 3 is implemented in the metropolis on the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF).

“All concerned attached agencies and sectoral offices of DoTr are directed to ensure that operators of public transportation shall allow access or issue tickets only to ‘fully vaccinated persons’ as evidenced by physical or digital copies of an LGU (local government unit)-issued vaccine card, or any IATF-prescribed document, with a valid government-issued ID with picture and address,” the DoTr order reads.

According to the DO, a person is considered fully vaccinated against Covid-19 two weeks after receiving his second dose in a 2-dose vaccination series, such as with the Pfizer or Moderna brand of vaccines, or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine such as with Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine.

Persons with medical conditions that prevent their full Covid-19 vaccination as shown by a duly-signed medical certificate with the name and contact details of their doctor are exempted from the policy.

Likewise, persons who will buy essential goods and services, such as but not limited to food, water, medicine, medical devices, public utilities, energy, work, and medical and dental necessities, as shown by a duly issued barangay health pass or other proof to justify travel are not covered by the policy.

Under the Order, violations of the policy are considered violations of applicable general safety and health provisions under any concession or service agreements, authority or permits to operate public transportation, and other similar instruments.

To recall, the Metro Manila Council, which is composed of all the mayors of NCR, also passed a resolution urging the various local government units of Metro Manila to pass their respective ordinances on the enhanced restrictions on the movement of unvaccinated persons.

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