MANILA – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Saturday said barangay officials who will implement the President’s directive to restrict the movement of unvaccinated individuals in their respective barangays will do so within the bounds of the law.
“The President is merely exercising his authority as Chief Executive under the public health emergency. He was very clear in his directive that an arrest will only be a last resort. Pakiusapan muna na pumirmi sa bahay (Appeal for them to stay home). Barangay officials may only arrest the unvaccinated individual who refuses to cooperate and who are leaving the homes for non-essential purposes,” DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año in a media release.
He advised the public to bring their vaccination cards at all times and show these to barangay officials and police officers as proof of vaccination upon request.
Año said barangay officials are persons in authority and are duty-bound to implement the President’s directive as well as the ordinances passed by their respective local government units (LGUs).
In his Talk to the People, President Duterte invoked his authority as Chief Executive amid a national emergency to order the mobility restriction on the unvaccinated.
"I am now giving orders to the barangay captains to look for those persons who are not vaccinated and just request them or order them if you may to stay put," Duterte said.
DILG Undersecretary and spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said barangay officials shall also be guided by the ordinances passed by their respective LGUs.
He said seven LGUs in Metro Manila have so far approved ordinances restricting the mobility of the unvaccinated in their respective jurisdictions.
These are Caloocan City Ordinance No. 0959, Quezon City Ordinance No. 3076, San Juan City Ordinance No. 2022-1, Valenzuela City Ordinance No. 976, Pateros City Ordinance No. 2022-01, Las Pinas City 02-2022, and Taguig City No. 62.
The other LGUs in Metro Manila are currently in the process of deliberating their respective ordinances which should pass next week after all Metro Manila mayors earlier passed a resolution that unvaccinated and partially vaccinated individuals must remain in their homes except for essential trips under Alert Level 3 or higher.
They will also be banned from indoor and al fresco dining, hotels, country clubs, leisure trips, and similar establishments and public transportation.
Malaya said unvaccinated individuals going to work must present a negative RT-PCR test result every two weeks otherwise they will not be allowed to leave their homes to go to work.
“We are doing this to protect the unvaccinated themselves because they are prone to critical illness and hospitalization and we need to protect our health care system from being overwhelmed with the exponential rise of coronavirus cases because of the Omicron variant,” he said.
Malaya said the ordinances provide for administrative penalties ranging from PHP500 to PHP5,000 with imprisonment of seven to 30 days.
Business establishments that violate the ordinance will also be penalized with a fine of PHP3,000-PHP5,000 and suspension or cancellation of the business permit at the discretion of the court.
Malaya clarified that the unvaccinated need to stay at home except to procure essential goods and services such as food, water, medicine or medical devices, public utilities, work, and medical and dental visits.
The ordinances authorized barangays officials, the police, the City Health Office, and the Business Permits and Licensing Office to implement the law.
Many business leaders, medical groups, and organizations have been pushing for the restrictions to be implemented nationwide amid the spike in infections and the threat of the Omicron Covid-19 variant. (PR)