‘No vaccine, no ride‘ policy restricts fundamental rights – CHR | Inquirer News
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‘No vaccine, no ride‘ policy restricts fundamental rights – CHR

/ 12:47 AM January 13, 2022

Enforcers of the Inter-Agency Council for Traffic monitor passengers of public utility vehicles for compliance with health protocols on Wednesday. Expect stricter checks in Metro Manila starting Jan. 17, when passengers must present vaccination cards to enter or move around Metro Manila using mass transport systems. (File photo by GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE / Philippine Daily Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines — The “no vaccine, no ride” policy of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) restricts the exercise of fundamental rights, according to the Commission on Human Rights (CHR).

“Given the new order from DOTr, CHR fears that while there is no direct prohibition on the right to travel with the ‘no vaccine, no ride’ policy in public transport for the unvaccinated, this policy effectively restricts the exercise and enjoyment of fundamental rights,” the CHR spokesperson, Jacqueline De Guia, said in a statement issued on Wednesday.

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“The reality is that ordinary Filipinos continue to rely on public transportation in attaining basic needs, such as for food, work, and accessing health services,” De Guia added. “With the DOTr‘s ‘no vaccine, no ride’ policy, even those exempted under this policy may be restricted in accessing essential goods and services for having no or limited access to private vehicles.”

Quoting the Human Rights Committee’s General Comment No. 27 on the freedom of movement, Guia said that “it is not sufficient that the restrictions serve the permissible purposes; they must also be necessary to protect them.”

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“Restrictive measures must conform to the principle of proportionality; they must be appropriate to achieve their protective function; they must be the least intrusive instrument amongst those which might achieve the desired result; and they must be proportionate to the interest to be protected,” she explained.

De Guia then noted that the current restrictions should be reviewed to ensure that they would be legal measures, necessary for the protection of public health, consistent with other recognized rights, and proportional to their aim of protecting public health.

“Restrictions imposed by the government must, at a minimum, be carried out in accordance with law,” she said.

De Guia referred to the provision in the Constitution stating that restriction of the liberty of movement in the interest of national security, public safety, or public health should be provided by law.

“Without a law detailing the precise parameters for the restriction of rights, the policy restricting rights runs into the danger of being sweeping and overly broad that assaults even personal liberties,” De Guia noted.

The DOTr is enforcing a “no vaccination, no ride” policy in Metro Manila, which is currently under Alert Level 3 due to an exponential rise in COVID-19 cases.

The order covers all domestic travel to, from, and within Metro Manila via public transportation by land, rail, sea, and air.

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Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said that this directive was in accordance with President Rodrigo Duterte’s earlier directive to restrict the movement of those who remain unvaccinated against COVID-19.

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TAGS: CHR, Commission on Human Rights, DoTr, Metro Manila public transport restrictions, no vaccine no ride policy
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