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‘No vax, no ride’ policy to be suspended once NCR eases to Alert Level 2 — DOTr exec

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Thursday said the implementation of the policy barring unvaccinated people in Metro Manila from boarding public transport will be halted once the region downgrades its quarantine status from Alert Level 3.

At the Laging Handa press briefing, Transportation Undersecretary Artemio Tuazon Jr. reiterated that the Department Order No. 2022-001 issued by Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade only applies in the National Capital Region (NCR) while the area is under Alert Level 3 or higher.

“Valid lang po ito habang ang NCR ay nasa Alert Level 3 or mas mas mataas. Kapag bumababa ang ating alert level dito, masusupinde na ‘yung polisiya,” he said.

(This is only valid while the NCR is under Alert Level 3 or higher. If our alert level downgrades, the policy will be suspended.)

Currently, NCR and at least 50 other areas are under Alert Level 3 until the end of January.

Under Alert Level 3, several establishments are allowed to operate at 30% indoor venue capacity but exclusively for fully vaccinated people, and 50% outdoor venue capacity as long as employees are fully vaccinated.

The “no vaccination, no ride” policy was fully enforced starting January 17, although government officials later clarified that workers are exempted from this.

The clarification came as the policy was met with criticism, with a partially vaccinated worker driven to tears when she was not allowed to take a public utility vehicle.  She lamented that it was not her fault that her second dose was scheduled next month.

On Wednesday, the government said it allowed unvaccinated and partially vaccinated workers against COVID-19 in Metro Manila to ride public transport for 30 days starting January 26.

“They have until February 25 na papayagan sila kung sila ay hindi pa bakunado or partially vaccinated pa lang basta kailangan pa rin nilang ipakita na ‘yung travel nila is essential,” Tuazon said.

(They have until February 25 to be allowed to ride the public transport if they are still unvaccinated or partially vaccinated as long as they have proof that their travel is essential.)

If workers have still not completed their primary vaccine doses by then, they will no longer be allowed to use public transportation, the DOTr official  stressed.

Fewer violations

At the same briefing, Tuazon said they have been seeing fewer violators of the policy in the past few days.

“As of late, iilan na lang ‘yung nahuhuli na nagta-try na mag-violate ng polisiya at mga gustong sumubok na lumusot pa rin doon sa polisiya. So, maganda na ‘yung implemetasyon natin ngayon,” he said.

(As of late, there are only a few people caught violating and trying to break through the policy. Our implementation is better now.)

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said Monday that the alert level in NCR may be eased to Alert Level 2 should it meet the criteria set by the government.

Among the criteria is the two-week growth rate must be at moderate risk and the average daily attack rate must be at around one to seven cases per 100,000 population. Healthcare utilization rate must also be 49% and below. — RSJ, GMA News