The implementation of the controversial “no vaccination, no ride” policy in Metro Manila will be suspended if the region reverts into a more lenient alert level 2.
Transportation Undersecretary Artemio Tuazon Jr. on Thursday said that ordinances prohibiting unvaccinated individuals from taking public transport will be deemed non-applicable when the capital region eases restrictions.
“The ‘no vaccination, no ride’ policy is valid only within the National Capital Region while it is under alert level 3 or higher,” Tuazon said in a televised briefing.
“If it shifts into a lower [alert level], the policy will be suspended,” he added.
As for areas outside the capital region, Tuazon said local officials may adopt the measure within their respective provinces.
Metro Manila, considered as the epicenter of the Philippines’ coronavirus outbreak, has been placed under alert level 3 since the start of the year.
Within the week, authorities are expected to decide on the next alert level status that will be imposed in the region for the month of February.
The “no vaccination, no ride” policy has been implemented in Metro Manila since 17 January.
Exempted from the rule are individuals who are ineligible for vaccination due to age, health risks or allergies, as well as those who are employed in permitted industries.
It earlier drew flak from some groups which called it “discriminatory” and “anti-poor,” but the government defended it by saying that restrictions on the unvaccinated will protect them from Covid-19 threat.
The policy is just one of the measures imposed by the government to convince more people to get vaccinated against coronavirus.
Metro mayors have agreed to impose stay-at-home orders among residents in the capital region who have yet to receive Covid-19 jabs.
Local government units have been directed by the interior department to identify who among their residents remain unvaccinated.
At press time, about 68 percent of Metro Manila’s 13 million population have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19. Meanwhile, only 88 percent or almost nine out of ten households in the region do not own private vehicles and rely on public transport.