Warnings instead of tickets for now as DOTr rolls out 'no vax, no ride' policy in NCR

Published January 17, 2022, 6:27 PM

by Alexandria Dennise San Juan

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) started on Monday, Jan. 17, the implementation of the “No Vaccination, No Ride” policy on public transportation in Metro Manila as part of measures to restrict the movement of unvaccinated individuals amid the rising cases of COVID-19.

Regional Highway Patrol Unit (RHPU) – National Capital Region (NCR) led by Chief PLt. Col. Joel L. Mendoza checks vaccine cards of passengers riding public utility vehicles along Monumento, Caloocan City on the first day of implementation of the “No Vaccination, No Ride” policy on Jan. 17, 2022. Commuters that were caught unvaccinated and not fully vaccinated were escorted home by the police mobile. (Noel B. Pabalate / MANILA BULLETIN)

DOTr Assistant Secretary Goddes Libiran said transportation enforcers will only just give warnings to violators on the first days of the policy’s implementation instead of tickets.

“Enforcers will do their best to just cite warnings. Sa susunod na araw, doon na po maniniket (Tickets will be given in the coming days),” Libiran told reporters.

“According to [Transporation Secretary Arthur] Tugade, implementation of the ‘No Vax, No Ride’ policy must be tolerant and patient, but firm,” she added.

The Department earlier said that it has partnered with the Inter-Agency Council on Traffic, Department of Interior and Local Government, Philippine National Police, Highway Patrol Group, and the Metro Manila Development Authority to help enforce the policy.

However, Libiran added that enforcers of local government units (LGUs) may issue their own tickets in line with their respective ordinances.

Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) Executive Director Tina Cassion said violating the policy will be considered as a breach of franchise conditions where the following penalties may be applied:

1st offense – fine of P5,000

2nd offense – fine of P10,000 and impounding of unit apprehended for 30 days

3rd/subsequent offense – fine of P15,000 and suspension/cancellation of franchise

“For the apprehended driver, LTFRB will recommend to LTO (Land Transportation Office) the suspension of the drivers license,” she added.

The DOTr issued Department Order No. 2022-001 which only allows vaccinated individuals to ride all modes of public utility vehicles (PUVs) to, within, and from the National Capital Region (NCR).

Under the order, the policy will be in effect while the more stringent Alert Level 3 or higher remains hoisted in Metro Manilla as to be determined by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease.

With this, passengers will be required to present physical or digital copies of their vaccine cards issued by the local government unit (LGU) or any IATF-prescribed document with a valid government-issued ID with picture and address.

The DOTr earlier said that it is banking on a “whole of government approach” to ensure that the policy is being implemented.

Aside from enforcers, the Department said it will also deploy “mystery passengers” or personnel disguised as regular passengers to check if the policy is properly implemented.

While the transport ban did not sit well with some private and public groups who called the policy “anti-poor,” the DOTr defended its decision which they said aims to protect and not to discriminate.

“[The policy] was made to protect all—whether vaccinated or unvaccinated individuals—to safeguard those that are most at risk, our healthcare system, and our exhausted medical workers amid the recent surge of COVID-19 cases recorded in the country,” the DOTr said.