The policy covers all domestic public transportation to and from Metro Manila and Metro Manila, but critics say the order is discriminatory.
The Philippine government has banned unvaccinated residents of the capital Manila and surrounding areas from using public transportation as a variant of Omicron causes a surge in COVID-19 cases.
In an order issued on Wednesday, the country’s Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugard said the “no vaccinations, no rides” policy covers all domestic public transportation to and from Metro Manila and within Metro Manila.
Public transport operators, including land, air and sea, “should allow only fully vaccinated persons to enter or issue tickets” and passengers must show proof of identification and vaccination status.
People are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after a second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine or two weeks after a single dose, the order added.
Earlier, Metro Manila’s mayors agreed to restrict the mobility of the unvaccinated people in the capital, including banning access to shopping malls and other facilities, although some legal experts questioned the constitutionality of the restrictions.
President Rodrigo Duterte draws criticism after taking office Order to arrest unvaccinated person Who will violate stay-at-home orders aimed at curbing the spread of the virus, which has sparked a new wave of record-breaking cases since the start of the year.
According to the government, as of Jan. 10, an estimated 52.86 million Filipinos were fully vaccinated, equivalent to 48 percent of the country’s total population of 110 million.
The Philippines reported 28,007 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, down slightly from Monday’s record 33,000 new cases.
Any violations “should be considered a breach of the applicable general safety and health regulations in place in the country since the pandemic,” said the new order from the Department of Transportation.
There are some exceptions to the order, including people with medical conditions who cannot be vaccinated, and individuals designated by their families to purchase essential items outside their residences.
However, the order was met with strong opposition. In a statement, opposition and rights group leader Renato Reyes called it “clearly illegal and absurd.”
The DoTr’s “no vaccinations, no commute” policy is clearly illegal and absurd. Only 48% of the population is vaccinated. Half of the population are not allowed to move now? What about people who go to their vaccination sites? Are they expected to walk?
— Renato Reyes Jr. (@natoeyes) January 12, 2022
“Half the population is not allowed to move now? What about people going to their vaccination sites? Should they walk?” he wrote on social media.
Transport advocacy group AltMobility PH challenged the order, saying it was discriminatory.
“You are discriminating against the actions of people who take public transport,” he said. “What about those in private cars? How can they move around the city without any checks,” the ABS-CBN website quoted the group’s head, Ira Cruz, as saying.
“Is it really easy for people to get vaccinated? We still hear stories of people spending all day at the vaccination site getting vaccinated,” Cruz said.
Since the pandemic hit the Philippines in 2020, Duterte’s measures have been questioned by critics as too restrictive and not based on data and science.
Duterte has previously threatened to arrest those violating the country’s lockdown measures, and warn those who refuse In order to be vaccinated, they will go to jail for the spread of the Delta variant last year.
When the government first imposed a lockdown on the country in April 2020, Duterte also warned that he would order the country’s police and military shoot anyone “Who makes trouble”.