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‘No vax, no ride’ starts Monday

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The Department of Transportation (DoTr) is set to kick-off its “No vaccination, No Ride” policy starting Monday, 17 January, heeding the orders of President Rodrigo Duterte to limit the movement of unvaccinated individuals in the country’s capital region due to the ongoing surge of Covid-19 Omicron variant.

In a virtual press conference, DoTr Undersecretary Ochie Tuazon stated that implementation of the said scheme is through Department Order (DO) 2022-001 signed by DoTr Secretary Art Tugade.

“This DO shall cover public transportation for individuals who reside outside NCR (National Capital Region) but who work and/or travel to the same,” the issuance read.

Some exceptions to the mandate include persons with medical conditions that prevent full Covid-19 vaccination “as evidenced by a duly-signed medical certificate with name and contact details of the physician.”

Individuals who will procure essential goods and services such as food, water, and medicine “as evidenced by a duly issued barangay health pass or other appropriate proof to support and justify such travel” are also exempted from the policy.

“All passengers of road, maritime, rails and air transportation will be subjected to show their vaccination cards before riding the public transport. Only fully vaccinated passengers will be allowed to use the country’s transportation sector. We are calling the public to follow the Department Order, as violators will be apprehended. We are not doing this to discriminate the public but to help the government to mitigate the rise of the virus,” Tuazon said.

Further, Tuazon mentioned that the “No vaccination, No Ride” policy is also following the Memorandum Circular that was released by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) resolution that unvaccinated individuals are mandated to remain in their residences at all times except for the procurement of essential goods and services, such as food, water, medical services, public utilities, and work.

“The purpose of the DO is to protect the unvaccinated riding public from getting the severe case of Covid-19, as 85 percent of those hospitalized individuals are those that are unvaccinated. If we will allow those unvaccinated, the transport system of the country may once again shutdown just like what happened last year. The DO is being supported by the Inter-Agency Task Force,” Tuazon added.

Valid way

The Department of Justice (DoJ) meanwhile released a position the DO that the MMDA and local government unit (LGU)resolutions are a valid way to exercise police powers under the Local Government Code.

On the other hand, Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año, said the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has issued a directive for mayors and barangay chiefs to further identify who are vaccinated in their areas and barangays, and when those who have not been vaccinated can be monitored and notified to stay in their homes.

“We hope that with the help of the Sanggunian, our LGU will be able to issue ordinances that will serve as a guide for barangay and municipal or city staff in implementing this directive,” the DILG chief said.

He noted that checkpoints were installed to restrict the mobility of the unvaccinated people in light of the rapid rise of Covid-19 cases believed to be caused by the highly transmissible Omicron variant.

All 17 mayors of the Metro Manila Council have already released ordinances to follow the order of the DILG, as of Thursday, according to Undersecretary Tuazon.

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