The Department of Transportation (DOTr) is clamping down hard on unvaccinated persons in Metro Manila. Mere days after President Rodrigo Duterte announced a stay-at-home order for these vulnerable individuals, another policy is now targeting the same persons.
The DOTr has just released information on Department Order (DO) No. 2022-001, which explicitly prohibits the unvaccinated from using all modes of public transportation, including land, rail, air, and sea-based modes of transport. This ban is valid for all rides going to and from Metro Manila.
What does this mean for individuals without the vaccine? The implications are clear. They won't be allowed to enter and use public transportation facilities or be issued tickets by operators.
Fully vaccinated persons would need to present their vaccination cards and a government-issued ID with a photo and home address. Full vaccination status is achieved two weeks after getting the jab for a one-dose vaccine or a second dose for a two-dose vaccine.
There are some notable exceptions, however. For example, individuals with medical conditions that preclude them from getting the vaccine are exempted from the ban. Similarly, unvaccinated persons traveling to obtain essential goods and services will be allowed to travel on public transport. These people will only need to present a validated medical certificate to proceed with their travels.
There is one other exemption for individuals traveling to vaccination sites to get the shot. Otherwise, without the vaccine, you can't use any mode of public transport.
Is this unconstitutional? The DOTr says no. The ban will not infringe on citizens' right to travel. Unvaccinated persons can still travel around Metro Manila using private vehicles.
As for implementation, the DOTr plans to execute the ban beginning on Monday, January 17. Despite that, the government agency is already encouraging public transport operators to deny entry to unvaccinated individuals. In any case, it looks like many people without the vaccine will have to stay home for now.