Individuals who are unvaccinated against COVID-19 will only be requested to go home and will not be arrested, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año clarified Monday.
Meanwhile, the Philippine National Police also reported that 85 areas across the country are under granular lockdown —76 in the National Capital Region, five in Mimaropa, two in Cagayan Valley, and one each in Ilocos and the Cordillera Administrative Region.
Under the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) resolution, unvaccinated individuals are mandated to remain in their residences at all times except for the procurement of essential goods and services, such as food, water, medical services, public utilities, and work.
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 coronavirus variant.
Ano noted that checkpoints were installed to restrict the mobility of the unvaccinated people in light of the rapid rise of Covid-19 cases believed to be caused by the highly transmissive Omicron variant.
“Our barangay chairmen and the police will set up checkpoints. If you are unvaccinated, you will be asked to go home, that’s all. But if you resist, you will really be forcibly brought back home,’’ Año said in a television interview.
He, however, said the arrest of the defiant unvaccinated people by barangay officials should only be a “last resort’’ and must be enforced “within the bounds of the law”.
Año, meanwhile, warned that those in possession of fake vaccination cards can be charged.
“Yes, they can now be apprehended there because they were caught in the act of being in the possession of fake documents,’’ said Año.
Latest data from the PNP showed that 14 areas are under the jurisdiction of the Northern Police District and one each for the Manila Police District and Southern Police District.
Around 188 members of the PNP and 216 force multipliers are working hand in hand to ensure compliance with lockdown and quarantine rules.
Metro Manila and its adjacent provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal, and Laguna are under Alert Level 3 until January 15 due to soaring coronavirus infections.