The “no vaccination, no ride policy” being implemented by the government amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic is a valid exercise of the state’s police power, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said on Wednesday.
In a virtual briefing, DILG spokesperson Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said this power was upheld by the Supreme Court (SC) in the case of “Gerochi vs. Department of Energy” promulgated in 2007, saying the state has the police power to promote public welfare by restraining and regulating the use of liberty and property.
“As mentioned by the Supreme Court, the welfare of the people is the supreme law,” Malaya added.
Malaya’s remarks came after the unvaccinated and partially vaccinated workers in Metro Manila were given a 30-day window to ride public transport starting Wednesday.
But beginning February 26, only fully vaccinated persons will be allowed to use public transport in traveling around the region.
However, Malaya said those with medical conditions that prevent them from getting immunized, those getting or delivering essential goods and services, and those headed to inoculation sites to get the vaccine are exempted from the rule.
He also urged the unvaccinated individuals to use the 30-day leeway to get the jab since from the very start the target of the government is to protect them.
Malaya also said the Department of Justice issued a legal opinion saying the policy does not violate Republic Act 11525 or the Covid-19 Vaccination Act of 2021.
“RA 11525 is not violated because public transport is not enumerated among the prohibited acts. If we read the vaccination act, what is prohibited there is requiring vaccination card as a document to access education, employment, and similar government transactions,” he added.
Malaya also said the policy is in accordance with the ordinances enacted by local government units restricting the movement of unvaccinated individuals as ordered by President Rodrigo Duterte.
“In terms of legality, the DILG stands squarely with the DOLE (Department of Labor and Employment) and the DOTr (Department of Transportation) in maintaining that there is no discrimination here because there is a substantial distinction,” he added.
He added that the policy aims to protect unvaccinated persons as they are more prone to be afflicted with severe illnesses that may result in hospitalization and even death.
Malaya also said the policy targets to protect the healthcare system from being overwhelmed due to a surge in coronavirus cases. (PNA)