All 17 mayors of Metro Manila, also referred to as the National Capital Region in the Philippines—a region that encompasses a population of over 13 million—have unanimously approved temporary enhanced restrictions that bars unvaccinated people from leaving their homes for most purposes the government does not deem necessary.
Following the decision, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte issued a statement on Wednesday to reiterate the message, saying that people who refuse to get vaccinated against COVID-19 should stay home or risk being arrested and jailed, reported Philippine News Agency (PNA), the official news agency of the Philippine government.
Duterte, who previously announced he will retire from politics after his term ends in 2022, said that there is a “high chance” that if a person who is not vaccinated against COVID-19 contracts the disease, they “will die.” He added that vaccines will provide a defense, no matter how small, against the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, also referred to as the coronavirus.
On Jan. 3, Benhur Abalos, the chairperson of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), announced that all 17 Metro Manila mayors agreed to a resolution to heavily restrict the movement of the COVID-19 unvaccinated under Alert Level 3 or higher. The decision came after the government pandemic task force placed the Metro Manila region under Alert Level 3 for dates Jan. 3–15.
Under Alert Level 3, unvaccinated people must remain at home at all times and are barred from “domestic travel via public transportation by land, sea, and air,”—except for some reasons the government deems “essential,” which includes heading out to obtain goods and services such as “food, water, medicine, medical devices, public utilities, and energy, work, and medical and dental necessities subject to the production of proof to support and justify such travel,” the MMDA announced.
Individual exercise is allowed outdoors within the general area of people’s homes.
COVID-19 unvaccinated people are also prohibited from many indoor and outdoor settings, which include dining areas, as well as “leisure trips to malls, hotels, event venues, sports, and country clubs, and similar facilities.”
They have to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test before they are let in for work onsite. The test must be a Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT PCR) test, taken every two weeks. If the RT PCR test or results are not immediately available, people can take a rapid antigen test in the meantime.
Abalos noted that when Metro Manila reverts back to a lower alert level, “the restrictions for the unvaccinated will be lifted,” MMDA announced.