NCR LGUs approve ordinances restricting mobility of unvaccinated amid COVID-19 surge


MANILA, Philippines — As of Wednesday, a number of Metro Manila's local government units have already approved their own local ordinances that would ban the entry of unvaccinated people in malls, restaurants and public transportation.

This comes after the Metro Manila Council unanimously passed a resolution urging local government units to enact ordinances for enhanced restrictions on persons not vaccinated for COVID-19. The resolutions and recommendations by the MMC are not binding in any way and still require city ordinances to be enforced in cities. 

Quezon City's ordinance passed Wednesday provides that unvaccinated persons may leave home only for essential reasons, such as work, food, or medical services.

"They may not enter establishments for dine-in or other leisure reasons. Also, non-fully vaccinated workers must undergo a COVID-19 test every two weeks at their personal expense," the city government said in a statement. 

The ordinance penalizes individual violators with a fine of P500 for the first offense, P1,000 for the second and P3,000 for the third and subsequent offenses. It also penalizes establishments found in violation with a fine of P3,000 for the first offense, P5,000 and suspension of business permit for the second offense, and P5,000 and cancellation of business permit for the third.

However, the QC Council added a provision giving employers the option to provide a non-vaccinated worker a grace period of one month to obtain his/her first COVID-19 vaccination shot.

As long as the worker obtains the first shot within the grace period, and subsequently obtains any required second shot as prescribed for the concerned vaccine, the worker shall not be required to take the bi-weekly test.

The City Council also added that a worker with a medical condition that prevents full COVID-19 vaccination may be exempted from biweekly COVID tests, provided that he or she submits a medical certification from a physician.

Any person that falsifies the COVID-19 vaccine card may be prosecuted under existing city ordinances without prejudice to prosecution under other applicable laws.

“We must remember that lives are at stake. We all must support the national government’s urgent call for a vaccine mandate, especially given the new surge in cases. We appeal to those not yet vaccinated to get their shots as soon as they can. Also, we encourage those who have not yet gotten their booster shots to do the same,” Mayor Joy Belmonte said.

San Juan City Mayor Francis Zamora also signed Tuesday City Ordinance No. 1, series of 2022, providing for the enhanced vaccination mandate to regulate the mobility of unvaccinated individuals within the territorial jurisdiction of San Juan City and providing penalties for violations thereof.

Under the local order, establishments found violating their ordinance on restricting entry of unvaccinated people will be ordered closed.

"This will be effective immediately. For everyone's compliance for the health and safety of our people," Zamora said in a Facebook post. 

Muntinlupa requires vax cards for city hall visitors

Muntinlupa City for its part said it would be requiring a vaccination card or RT-PCR negative test from the public who will visit City Government offices.

This after it issued a memorandum ordering security personnel in Muntinlupa City Hall and other local government offices to require visitors to present their vaccination card or a negative RT-PCR test to be charged at the expense of the visiting public.

“Please be advised that everyone, including elected officials and department heads, entering the City Government of Muntinlupa (CGM) facilities must be required to present their Vaccination ID with proof that they are fully vaccinated (1st and 2nd dose) or they can present an RT –PCR  test result done within two (2) weeks,” the local memorandum states.

Employees found in violation of the order will be administratively sanctioned in accordance with the CSC rules and regulations.

In a statement, the city government said that its City Council was still "set to pass an ordinance for the tightening of mobility restrictions for unvaccinated individuals."

The Muntinlupa City Health Office recorded a significant increase in active cases following the celebration of the holidays and New Year’s Eve. From five active cases last December 20, it has since spiked to 295 active cases last January 3.

All COVID-19 cases including asymptomatic, mild, probable, suspected cases, and close contacts are mandated to undergo quarantine at home or in the city’s isolation facilities if requirements for home quarantine are not met as certified by CHO.

The LGU urged the public to take extra caution and strictly follow the minimum public health protocols amid the increase in COVID-19 cases in the city. It also appealed to city residents to get vaccinated as protection from the adverse effects of the virus.

Surge continues with mild cases but rising hospital usage

Per data from the Department of Health's latest case tally, Quezon City overtook Manila City for the first spot in daily cases with 999 new cases compared to Manila's 786. 

The two cities were followed by the localities of Pasig, Makati and Paranaque, which recorded 276, 254, and 248 cases, respectively, on Tuesday afternoon. 

Citing recent DOH data, the OCTA Research Group said that 0.05% of recent cases in the NCR are moderate, severe or critical based on DOH data.

"Initial data looks promising as far as the rate of severity of new cases in the NCR, but this may still change, and NCR residents should continue to strictly comply with minimum public health standards and observe alert level system restrictions," OCTA fellow Guido David said at the Go Negosyo town hall session on Wednesday. 

"Despite the low number of moderate, severe and critical cases, hospital bed occupancy for COVID-19 increased from 19% to 34% in a span of seven days."

Franco Luna 



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