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MANILA, Jan 10 (Mabuhay) — The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Monday clarified that those who are unvaccinated against COVID-19 who will go out will only be asked by barangay officials to return to their homes and will not be arrested if they comply accordingly.

Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said law enforcers will put up checkpoints to restrict the mobility of the unvaccinated in light of the rise of COVID-19 infections believed driven by the Omicron variant.

“Ang ating mga barangay captains at mga kapulisan ay magsasagawa ng mga checkpoints. Kung ikaw ay hindi bakunado, pauuwiin ka, ‘yun lang naman. Pero kung ikaw ay magre-resist ay talagang sapilitan kang iuuwi,” he added.

President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday ordered barangay officials to direct persons yet to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to stay at home and arrest them if they refused to cooperate.

“Ang ibig sabihin naman nito ay ili-limit natin ang kilos ng mga hindi bakunado na dapat ay sa bahay lang muna sila habang meron tayong surge, habang nagaganap itong biglang maramihang transmission,” Año said.

Año earlier said barangay officials arresting unvaccinated individuals who insist on going out would only be a “last resort” and would be conducted “within the bounds of the law.”

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra also said unvaccinated persons who leave their homes without a valid reason under the ordinances of their local government units will only be arrested if they resist or fight with the persons in authority.

Should the unvaccinated wish to go out, Año said they should get their COVID-19 jabs to be allowed to do so.

He, however, warned that those caught in possession of fake vaccination cards at checkpoints may be arrested by the police or face charges such as fabrication of false documents among others.

“Yes. Pupuwede na siyang hulihin diyan sapagkat caught in the act siya na meron siyang dala dala na fake na document,” Año said.

(Yes, they could be arrested immediately if they are caught in the act of bringing fake documents.)

The DILG said on Sunday that barangay officials who could not restrict unvaccinated people may also be punished by law.

The Metro Manila Council, composed of the 17 National Capital Region (NCR) mayors, earlier approved that unvaccinated residents in Metro Manila will be ordered to stay at home unless they are buying and accessing essential goods and services while the National Capital Region is under Alert Level 3.

Aside from Metro Manila, its adjacent provinces Bulacan, Cavite, and Rizal are also under until January 15, while Laguna is under the same alert level starting January 7 until January 15.

Fourteen more cities and provinces were placed under Alert Level 3 starting January 9 until 15.

Under Alert Level 3, several establishments are allowed to operate at 30% indoor venue capacity only for fully vaccinated individuals and 50% outdoor venue capacity, provided that all employees are fully vaccinated.  (MNS)

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