President Rodrigo Duterte (MNS Photo)

MANILA, Jan 5 (Mabuhay) — Some aides of President Rodrigo Duterte recommend expanding nationwide the mobility restrictions that Metro Manila imposed on people who have yet to complete their COVID-19 vaccination, an official said on Tuesday.

Vince Dizon, deputy chief implementer of the National Task Force Against COVID-19, thanked authorities in the capital region for their “very bold move” of ordering unvaccinated people to stay at home as infections climbed.

He said he discussed the policy with Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, vaccination chief Carlito Galvez Jr., Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.

“We are recommending that this policy in NCR also be adopted by the entire country, even in areas po na hindi pa nagsu-surge dahil alam naman po natin na it is really just a matter of time na itong omicron ay kumalat na sa buong bansa,” Dizon told Duterte in a taped meeting.

Duterte did not immediately reply to the recommendation.

The mobility restriction for unvaccinated people in the capital region will be imposed only while the area is under COVID-19 Alert 3 or higher, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chairman Benhur Abalos said on Tuesday.

“Ibig sabihin, pansamantala lang ito habang talagang rumaragasa ang kaso ngayon,” he said in a televised public briefing. “Kung titingnan mo, ito’y para proteksyunan pa ang ating hindi bakunado dahil talagang apektado po sila rito.”

The Commission on Human Rights on Monday said there are “valid justifications” in curbing the freedom of movement, “especially during national emergencies, such as the present pandemic.”

But it stressed that this policy “must be legal, necessary, proportional, and non-discriminatory as detailed under the Siracusa Principles.”

Gabriela party-list Rep. Arlene Brosas, meanwhile, urged Metro Manila mayors to conduct mass testing instead of restricting the movement of unvaccinated people.

“Vaccinated individuals can be carriers of the virus and can still test positive for COVID-19. Kaya hindi sapat itong ‘No Vaxx, No Labas’ policy na ipapatupad sa NCR (That’s why the ‘No Vaxx, No Labas’ policy in NCR is not enough),” she said in a statement.

Home to more than 13 million people, Metro Manila returned under the third of a 5-scale COVID-19 alert system on Monday until Jan. 15 to try to limit infections.

Level 3 bans face-to-face classes, contact sports, funfairs, and casinos. The government’s coronavirus task force will also reduce the operating capacity for social events, tourist attractions, amusement parks, restaurant dine-in services, fitness studios, and personal care services.

The Philippines has confirmed some 2.86 million coronavirus infections. Around 50.1 million of the country’s 109 million people have completed their vaccination. (MNS)

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