The Department of Transportation (DOTr) and its attached agencies are all geared up to implement the "No Vaccination, No Ride" policy in all public transportation to, from, and within Metro Manila starting Monday, Jan. 17.
The railway, road, maritime, and aviation sectors have issued the guidelines for the implementation of Department Order No. 2022–001 which prohibits unvaccinated individuals from using public transportation in the National Capital Region (NCR).
Based on their respective guidelines, passengers will be required to present their coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine card or vaccine certificates, or any Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF)-prescribed document with a valid government-issued ID with picture and address.
Under the order, a person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving their second dose in a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine, or two weeks after getting a single-dose vaccine.
Meanwhile, exempted from the “no vaccination, no ride” policy are the following:
• Persons with medical conditions that prevent their full COVID-19 vaccination as shown by a duly-signed medical certificate with the name and contact details of their doctor.
• Persons who will buy essential goods and services, such as but not limited to food, water, medicine, medical devices, public utilities, energy, work, and medical and dental necessities, as shown by a duly issued barangay health pass or other proof to justify travel.
The policy will be in effect while the more stringent Alert Level 3 or higher remains hoisted in Metro Manilla to be determined by the IATF.
Enforcers and 'mystery passengers'
In a press briefing on Friday, Jan. 14, DOTr Assistant Secretary for Road Sector Mark Pastor said the Department is banking on a "whole of government approach" to ensure that the policy is being implemented.
According to Pastor, the DOTr already partnered with the local government units (LGUs), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Philippine National Police (PNP), Highway Patrol Group (PNP-HPG), and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) to help enforce the policy.
Aside from enforcers, Pastor said the DOTr will also deploy "mystery passengers" or personnel disguised as regular passengers to check if the policy is properly implemented.
For the commuters, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) Chairman Martin Delgra urged them to show first their vaccination cards, then pay the fare to drivers upon riding public utility vehicles (PUVs), particularly jeepneys.
Delgra added that streamers will be posted inside PUVs to remind passengers to bring their vaccination cards all the time.
The DOTr warned PUV operators and drivers that non-compliance of the policy will be considered a "violation of applicable general safety and health provisions under any concession or service agreements, authority or permits to operate public transportation, and other similar instruments."
Penalties include fines ranging from P1,000 to P10,000, or suspension or revocation of the PUV franchise, depending on the gravity of their offense.
While penalties on erring passengers are not under the jurisdiction of the agency, DOTr Undersecretary for Legal Affairs Reinier Yebra said violators may still be punished under LGU ordinances and other laws.
"Kung kayo po ay pasahero at na-violate ng ordinance, may penalties po iyan like fines ranging from P500 up to P5,000. Yung iba ay may kasamang imprisonment from five days to six months (Passengers who will violate an LGU ordinance may face penalties such as P500 to P5,000 fines or imprisonment for five days up to six months)," Yebra explained.