Unvaccinated, partially vaccinated NCR workers get 30-day reprieve to use PUVs

dotr-dole-dilg-joint-press-release

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), the Department of Transportation (DOTr), and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) issued a joint press release stating that unvaccinated and partially vaccinated workers in NCR will get a 30-day window to use the region’s public transportation system.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • When will the 30-day travel window take effect?

    The 30-day travel window for both unvaccinated and partially vaccinated will be implemented January 26, 2022.
  • What happens after the 30-day window closes?

    After the 30 days, only workers in the NCR who are fully vaccinated will be allowed to use public transportation.
  • The press release reads, “unvaccinated and partially vaccinated workers in industries and establishments allowed to operate in the National Capital Region (NCR) under the existing COVID-19 Alert Level 3 status will only be given 30 days from 26 January 2022 to continue riding public transportation and public utility vehicles (PUVs) in entering, exiting, and going around the metropolis.”

    The decision came after DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III, DOTr Secretary Art Tugade, and DILG Secretary Eduardo Año looked into the country’s vaccination data in an interagency meeting last Friday, January 21.

    According to DOTr Undersecretary for Administrative Service and official representative to the IATF Artemio Tuazon Jr., this decision aims to protect unvaccinated and partially vaccinated workers who are using public transportation from contracting COVID-19 and later developing severe infections.

    “This is to ensure that only those fully protected against COVID-19 are safe from using public transport. Data show that workers who remain unvaccinated against the virus that causes COVID-19 are more vulnerable to severe and critical infections,” explained Tuazon.

    Within the 30-day window, partially vaccinated workers are still allowed to board public transportation. However, since partially unvaccinated individuals are still at risk given that they do not have complete protection against the virus as clarified by the Health Department, they are also not allowed to use public transportation if vaccination remains incomplete within the 30-day window.

    Tuazon said that 30 days following the announcement of the new protocol, only workers in the NCR who are fully vaccinated (those who have completed the two-dose primary series vaccination such as for the Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Sinovac, or Moderna brands; or the one-dose vaccination such as for the Janssen brand) are allowed to use public transportation.

    Tuazon added that the joint decision made by the DOLE, DILG, and the DOTr supports the government’s ongoing thrust to ramp up inoculation efforts, especially amid the highly transmissible Omicron variant.

    “This joint decision is also meant to support the vaccination drive of the entire government. We want our workers to get fully vaccinated especially now that there is no longer a shortage of COVID-19 vaccines, and there is a threat of highly transmissible variants of the virus. We are giving our workers the time to get themselves vaccinated,” Tuazon said.

    He also clarified that the joint decision made by the DOLE, DILG, and the DOTr is in no way discriminatory.

    “As jointly decided by the DOLE, DILG, and DOTr, workers who will remain unvaccinated 30 days after the announcement are not being barred from their workplaces. They are simply not allowed to use public transportation, but can still use other means such as active transport, private vehicles, or company shuttle services,” offered Tuazon.

    Photo from DOTr's official Facebook page

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