“Prohibiting access to basic services such as public transportation and threats of possible arrests and detention of unvaccinated individuals if they go out of their homes are certainly highly questionable policies that violate their rights.”
By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
MANILA – Several groups are condemning the policy that limits the mobility of unvaccinated persons in the capital saying that it violates their rights.
Human rights group Karapatan said that there may be restrictions during public health emergencies such as the pandemic, “but these restrictions should be proportional and non-discriminatory as outlined in international human rights instruments and norms.”
“Prohibiting access to basic services such as public transportation and threats of possible arrests and detention of unvaccinated individuals if they go out of their homes are certainly highly questionable policies that violate their rights,” Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay said.
On Tuesday, Jan. 4, Metro Manila mayors approved a resolution restricting the movement of unvaccinated individuals in the National Capital Region as the region experiences a surge in cases of COVID-19. The capital was also placed under Alert Level 3.
Under Alert Level 3, unvaccinated persons are not allowed to go out of their residences except for the procurement of essential goods, services or going to work.
In accordance with the said resolution, the Quezon City government also passed an ordinance regulating the mobility of the unvaccinated, and imposing penalties for violators.
Aside from limiting movement to work and procuring essential foods, the Quezon City ordinance also said that unvaccinated may not enter establishments for dine-in while non-fully vaccinated workers have to shell out for their COVID-19 test every two weeks.
Assistant Minority Leader and Gabriela Partylist Rep. Arlene Brosas said that even vaccinated individuals can also be carriers of the virus and can still test positive for COVID-19.
“The recent exponential COVID-19 surge in Metro Manila happened even when 102 percent of the target NCR population was already vaccinated. That is why this latest Metro Manila Council policy is blind to the actual situation on the ground,” Brosas said.
In another news report, Philippine General Hospital Spokesperson Jonas Del Rosario said that 60 percent of COVID-19 admissions in the hospital are already vaccinated.
Kabataan Partylist national president Raoul Manuel meanwhile said that the policy is repressive and reflects the vaccine and lockdown-centric COVID response of the Duterte administration.
“Almost two years into the pandemic, they play deaf to people’s calls for a comprehensive approach that includes free and accessible mass testing, effective tracing, and free treatment for those who get infected,” Manuel said in a statement.
Urban poor group Kadamay reiterated that the government must provide free mass testing and not blame the unvaccinated for the COVID-19 surge. They slammed the government for limiting the movement of the unvaccinated while not doing its part in ensuring the economic mobility of its citizens, especially the marginalized.
Kadamay added that the country is nearing its second year in the pandemic, “yet the fundamentals of mass testing and empowering the health sector significantly have yet to be learned. Moreover, the question of aid and intensive vaccination education has also yet to be resolved.”
“The public must understand and the government must admit that the current return to Alert Level 3 is caused by the negligence of the Duterte administration,” said Kadamay Secretary General Mimi Doringo in a statement in Filipino.
Meanwhile, Palabay said unvaccinated individuals and the rising number of COVID-19 cases should be a wake-up call for the government to address the pandemic through a scientific, pro-people and rights-based response. (RTS,RVO)