Unvaccinated individuals are generally compliant with the government’s directive to limit their movements to prevent further spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said on Monday.
“At present, we see that our countrymen are following the regulations,” Año said in Filipino in his virtual report to President Rodrigo R. Duterte during his Talk to the People briefing.
The DILG chief, however, pointed out that arrests are only a last resort for stubborn and unruly unvaccinated individuals who refuse to go home.
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.
“The Department has issued a directive for mayors and barangay chiefs to further identify who are vaccinated in their areas and barangays, and when those who have not been vaccinated can be monitored and notified to stay in their homes. We hope that with the help of the Sanggunian, our LGUs will be able to issue ordinances that will serve as a guide for barangay and municipal or city staff in implementing this directive,” the DILG chief said.
He 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 transmissible Omicron variant.
“The memorandum circular also mobilizes the Philippine National Police to assist the local government in this endeavor. Those who come out who are not vaccinated are sent home and if they do not comply, only then will we be forced to arrest some individuals who do not comply,” he added.
He while more people have been apprehended for not wearing face masks, there are less violators of physical distancing rules.
Out of 45,234 face mask rule violators, 32,559 were warned; 6,030 were fined; 3,300 underwent community service; 165 were brought to inquest proceedings and 3,180 were subjected to the regular filing process.
All 108 violators of the mass gatherings regulations were only warned.
With regards to the physical distancing violations, 17,985 out of the 19,423 violators were warned; 329 were fined; 903 underwent community services while 206 were arrested.
Año identified them as “quarantine control points’’ where the checkpoints are located in the boundaries of the provinces and cities.
In the National Capital Region (NCR) Plus covering Metro Manila, Bulacan, Rizal, Laguna and Cavite, Año said there are 80 quarantine control points and 807 nationwide.
In the law enforcement checkpoints, Año noted that 128 are in the NCR Plus and 716 are installed in the whole country.
“These enforce orderliness and anti-criminality checkpoints which include the gun ban,’’ Año said.
He said there are also 11 NCR Plus “dedicated control points’’ and 81 in other parts of the country that ensure the unhampered travel of delivery and cargo vehicles carrying goods even if granular lockdowns are imposed in the areas under the varying alert level systems.
In the eight cities and municipalities and 50 barangays, Año said 63 areas are under granular lockdowns with 53 of them located in Metro Manila which affects 115 households and 326 individuals.
Meanwhile, Año said 748 Philippine National Police personnel were deployed in the quarantine hotels accredited by the Department of Tourism, Bureau of Quarantine and Department of Health.
“And we were able to establish 247 help desks in 270 hotels in Metro Manila,’’ he added.
Currently, Año said 18,562 returning overseas Filipinos are in quarantine hotels.
With the high Covid-19 positivity rate in Metro Manila, Año said the DILG has urged local government units to maximize the use of telemedicine services for public hospitals
He also urged patients with mild symptoms of Covid-19 to avail of home isolation and treatment programs to prevent the healthcare system from being overwhelmed. (PNA)