Despite persistent advisories and warnings, the Department of Transportation (DoTr) still recorded more than a thousand unvaccinated commuters who attempted to board the train lines on Monday, the first day of the implementation of the “No Vax, No Ride” policy.
Transportation Undersecretary for Railways Timothy John Batan said Tuesday a total of 1,749 commuters attempted to take Metro Manila’s rail lines without showing proof of their vaccination.
Batan said the DoTr 1,204 violators were recorded in the Metro Rail Transit Line 3; 401 individuals in Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT-1); 136 in LRT-2; and eight in the Philippine National Railways.
Transportation Assistant Secretary Mark Steven Pastor, meanwhile, clarified that the violators were only warned and not apprehended.
“Since this is just the first day of the policy’s implementation, our enforcers were instructed to just issue the violators warnings instead of outrightly apprehending them for non-compliance,” Pastor said.
Peaceful day 1
According to the DoTr, the first day of the implementation of the new policy in Metro Manila was generally peaceful.
“According to reports from our men on the ground, most of the passengers were prepared for the policy,” Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said.
“They voluntarily handed over their vaccination cards to our enforcers for thorough inspection and verification before boarding public utility vehicles (PUV),” he added.
On Tuesday, 11 January, Tugade issued a Department Order enforcing a “no vaccination, no ride/no entry” policy in the National Capital Region (NCR).
While the new measure is in place, Cebu Pacific clarified that returning residents to and from NCR are still allowed to travel if they present proof of residency, along with other existing local government unit (LGU) requirements of their destination.
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.
The DoTr also reiterated that an employee of an industry allowed to operate under Alert Level 3 can still board public transport, even if unvaccinated, provided that they can present proof that they are going to work, such as a company ID or a Certificate of Employee.
Penalties await erring drivers, operators
As of 4 p.m. on Tuesday, the InterAgency Council for Traffic has apprehended 17 public utility vehicles and 102 erring passengers were turned over to their respective LGU.
In a text message, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTRFB) Executive Director Tina Cassion said the violation of the order is already a breach of franchise condition.
Erring drivers and operators will face a fine of P5,000 for the first offense; P10,000 and impounding of unit for the second offense; and P15,000 and suspension or cancellation of the franchise for the third offense.
For the apprehended driver, LTFRB will recommend to the Land Transportation Office the suspension of the driver’s license.