DOTr to fine violators of ‘no vax, no ride’ policy

By Raymond Carl Dela Cruz

January 17, 2022, 7:03 pm

<p><em>(PNA photo)</em></p>

(PNA photo)

MANILA – The Department of Transportation (DOTr) line agencies will impose fines and penalties against drivers and operators of public utility vehicles (PUVs) found in breach of the “no vaccination, no ride policy” in the National Capital Region (NCR) beginning Tuesday.

In a Viber message on Monday, DOTr Assistant Secretary Goddes Hope Libiran said traffic enforcers from the Inter-Agency Council for Traffic (I-ACT), Land Transportation (LTO), the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), and the Philippine National Police (PNP) – Highway Patrol Group (HPG) are presently issuing warnings against violators.

She, however, noted that traffic enforcers under some local government units (LGU) have begun imposing fines.

“LGUs are not under DOTr. They are operating and issuing tickets in line with their respective ordinances,” Libiran said.

Under the LTFRB, she said PUV drivers and operators that violate the mandatory vaccination policy will be fined PHP5,000 for a first offense and PHP10,000 for a second offense as well as impounding of their PUV for 30 days.

For the third offense, she said erring drivers and operators will be fined PHP15,000 and will have their franchise suspended or canceled.

The implementation of the mandatory vaccination policy in public transportation officially began on Monday in a joint operation by the I-ACT with the PNP and LTFRB in major NCR thoroughfares.

In a Facebook post, the I-ACT said passengers who failed to present a vaccination card or relevant documents proving their exemption were prevented from boarding PUVs.

It said 160 passengers were barred during the first day of implementation of the policy, aside from other violations such as excess passenger, obstruction, inspection report summons, and overloading.

“Muling hinihikayat ng I-ACT ang publiko na makiisa sa pagpapatupad ng mga nasabing patakaran upang mas maging komportable at ligtas ang pampublikong transportasyon sa disgrasya at Covid-19 (Once, again, the I-ACT asks the public to cooperate with the implementation of the said policy to ensure a more comfortable and safer public transportation from Covid-19),” the I-ACT said.

Earlier, the DOTr issued a department order allowing only those fully vaccinated from taking public transportation to, from, and within the NCR.

The policy, which exempts those who cannot be vaccinated due to medical reasons and need to acquire essential goods and services, is only in effect while the NCR is under Alert Level 3 or higher. (PNA)