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DOTr will be 'very tolerant but firm' in enforcing 'no vax, no ride' policy —official

While the Department of Transportation (DOTr) would be tolerant to unvaccinated commuters in the National Capital Region (NCR), it said on Monday that penalties would be given to persistent violators of the “no vaccination, no ride” policy in public transportation.

In an Unang Balita interview, DOTr Undersecretary Artemio Tuazon Jr. said they would be "very tolerant but firm" in the first few days of the implementation of the policy, which started on Monday, January 17.

“Bagama't puwede na silang tiketan, pagsasabihan muna sila. Pero kapag paulit-ulit ang violation ay talagang ti-tiketan na sila,” Tuazon said.

(While we could already give them tickets, we would only warn them first. However, if they continue to violate the policy, we would really give them tickets.)

Tuazon said traffic enforcers have been deployed to various routes to monitor compliance with the policy.

The DOTr is in charge of giving penalties to public utility vehicle (PUV) operators and drivers caught with unvaccinated passengers — the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) for the operators and the Land Transportation Office (LTO) for the drivers.

DOTr Road Transport Sector Assistant Mark Steven Pastor on Friday said operators and drivers would be penalized under Article I, Section J of Joint Administrative Order No. 2014-01.

They may face fines ranging from P1,000 to P10,000 depending on how many times the policy is violated, and their franchise could be suspended depending on the gravity of the offense.

Meanwhile, unvaccinated commuters are covered by various ordinances issued by Metro Manila local government units in connection with the policy.

A full vaccination status can only be proven by either physical or digital copies of LGU-issued vaccine card, Department of Health (DOH)-issued vaccine certification, or any Inter-Agency Task Force-prescribed document with valid government-issued ID with picture and address.

“Intindihan lang natin at ‘wag nang mandaya. Intindihin na lang natin itong polisiya at para sa proteksyon din naman po nila ito,” Tuazon said amid the possibility of commuters bringing false vaccination cards.

(Just try to understand the policy and not fake vaccine cards because this is for everyone’s protection.)

Tuazon said they believe many PUV drivers, conductors, and operators have already been vaccinated against COVID-19 since the DOTr has conducted a vaccination drive for public transport workers. He also noted that vaccination rate is high in the NCR.

“Ngayon kung hindi pa sila bakunado, ay ‘wag na muna silang pumasada hangga’t hindi pa sila nababakunahan,” he said.

(For the unvaccinated PUV drivers, they can't operate until they get vaccinated.)

The DOTr issued Department Order No. 2022-001 on January 11, 2022 which limits access to public transportation in NCR only to fully vaccinated individuals while the region is under Alert Level 3 or higher. —KBK, GMA News