PUV drivers urged to report 'kotong enforcers' of 'no vax, no ride' rule

Jaehwa Bernardo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 16 2022 10:50 AM | Updated as of Jan 16 2022 11:06 AM

Jeepney drivers wait for passengers along Visayas Avenue in Quezon City on August 17, 2021 as Metro Manila remains under enhanced community quarantine to curb the spread of COVID-19. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News
Jeepney drivers wait for passengers along Visayas Avenue in Quezon City on August 17, 2021 as Metro Manila remains under enhanced community quarantine to curb the spread of COVID-19. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — A Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) official on Sunday urged public utility vehicle drivers to report enforcers who may use the new "no vaccination, no ride" policy to extort money.

LTFRB technical division chief Joel Bolano said the government will not allow enforcers to abuse the policy, which will be implemented in Metro Manila starting Monday, and harass drivers into giving them money.

"Hindi natin papayagan iyan (kotong). Kaya nga sa ating drivers, operators, kung may ganitong situations, open po ang ating pamahalaan," Bolano told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo, adding that reports can be directed to the LTFRB's hotline 1342.

(We won't allow extortion. That's why we're telling our drivers and operators, if there are such situations, the government is open for reports.)

"Kahit sa iba pong ahensiya, puwede po natin itong isumbong," he added.

(They can also report to other government agencies.)

The new policy, which prohibits unvaccinated people from riding public transportation unless for essential reasons, will be jointly implemented by the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and its attached agencies, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, the Highway Patrol Group, Inter-Agency Council for Traffic and local government units, according to Bolano.

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The DOTr will also deploy mystery passengers in public transportation to check compliance with the policy, which has been criticized by some groups as anti-poor and in violation of peoples' right to mobility.

PUV drivers with unvaccinated passengers will be fined P5,000 for the first offense, and P10,000 for second offense.

Drivers on their third offense will face a P15,000 fine and possible suspension or cancellation of their vehicle franchise, Bolano said.

"Kaya nakikiusap kami sa mga driver at ating operator, at sa mga pasahero lalo na po, na sundin muna, pagbigyan muna natin ang implementasyon ng ating polisiya," he said.

Exempted from the “no vaccination, no ride” policy are the following:

  • Persons with medical conditions that prevent their full COVID-19 vaccination as shown by a duly-signed medical certificate with the name and contact details of their doctor.
  • Persons who will buy essential goods and services, such as but not limited to food, water, medicine, medical devices, public utilities, energy, work, and medical and dental necessities, as shown by a duly issued barangay health pass or other proof to justify travel.

Bolano said officials have yet to determine how long the "no vaccine, no ride" will be enforced in the capital region. A memorandum circular issued by the Land Transportation Office stated, though, that the order will remain in effect while Metro Manila is under Alert Level 3 or a higher quarantine classification.

Metro Manila, which logged 18,422 new cases on Saturday, will be under Alert Level 3 until the end of the month.