Unvaccinated residents in Metro Manila will be ordered to stay at home unless they are buying and accessing essential goods and services while the National Capital Region is under Alert Level 3, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chair Benhur Abalos said Monday.
“Yung mga walang bakuna or unvaccinated, number one, they shall remain in their residences at all times except for the procurement of essential goods and services,” Abalos said at a press conference.
The Metro Manila Council, composed of the 17 NCR mayors, approved in principle the additional restrictions for unvaccinated people, Abalos said.
Asked when the additional restrictions on unvaccinated people will be effective, Abalos said LGUs will issue separate ordinances for the implementation.
Unvaccinated people will also be allowed outside only for activities or exercises within the area of their residences, villages, or barangays, depending on the regulations of concerned LGUs.
Abalos pointed out that the implementation of stay-at-home order in the NCR is the “pilot case” for the entire country.
The stricter measure aims to sustain the improvements in economy and public health gained in the past months under Alert Level 2, he said.
He added that this is also to prevent the possible adverse impact of the Omicron variant in the NCR.
Abalos noted that the moving two-week growth rate from November 21 to December 4 and December 5 to December 18 was at -51%.
On December 31, it grew to 285%. As of Sunday, it increased further to 501%.
At the Laging Handa public briefing, Department of the Interior Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said the Department supports the decision of the NCR mayors.
“We fully support the decision of the Metro Manila Council na ipagbawal po (to prohibit) ang mga unvaccinated individuals in public places,” he said.
For Malaya, unvaccinated individuals pose a threat to the community.
"Alam naman po natin na iyong mga [We all know that] unvaccinated individuals pose a threat to the community. Therefore, maganda po iyong naging desisyon nila na dapat ay nasa kabahayan lang sila [the decision is good to have them stay at home]," he said.
But according to the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), unvaccinated NCR residents should be allowed to access essential services amid the Alert Level 3 status in the region.
In a statement, CHR spokesperson Jacqueline Ann de Guia said while there are “valid justifications” in restricting rights such as mobility during a pandemic, the policies for doing so should be based on human rights standards.
“The Commission on Human Rights, however, continues to stress that such policies much be based on human rights standards — that, among others, it must be legal, necessary, proportional, and non-discriminatory as detailed under the Siracusa Principles,” she said.
Alert Level 3
The government has placed Metro Manila under Alert Level 3 from January 3 to 15, 2022 amid the increase in COVID-19 cases.
Under Alert Level 3, several establishments will be allowed to operate at 30% indoor venue capacity only for fully vaccinated individuals and 50% outdoor venue capacity, provided that all employees are fully vaccinated.
Face-to-face classes, contact sports, funfairs/perya, and casinos are among the activities and establishments that are prohibited under Alert Level 3.
NCR positivity rate
Earlier, independent monitoring group OCTA Research said the rapid increase in COVID-19 positivity rate in NCR “slowed down” to 28.7% on Sunday.
In a tweet, OCTA fellow Dr. Guido David said this is “possibly” due to a decrease in social and mass gatherings leading up to New Year's Eve.
But Sunday’s positivity rate is slightly higher than Saturday’s 28.03%, which classified the NCR as “high risk” for COVID-19.
In an interview with GTV’s Balitanghali, Abalos said the growth rate in Metro Manila also rose to 501% this 2022.
“In just one day, pumalo ng 285% [ang growth rate] n'ung [December] 31,  tapos in just one day, nag-501% ang growth rate just through this, makikita kung gaano kabilis ang pagsipa ng kaso,” he said.
(The growth rate on December 31 was at 285% and in just one day it soared to 501%. We can see how rapid the cases spike.)
He added that they readied isolation centers as well as contact tracers for the expected surge. — with Consuelo Marquez/RSJ/KBK, GMA News