The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has defended the mobility restriction in Metro Manila for those who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19-something that is not against the law.
The Concerned Doctors and Citizens of the Philippines group earlier said that the MMDA resolution now urges 17 mayors of Manila not to let the unvaccinated until Alert Level 3 be against the 1987 Constitution.
“‘Yung sinasabi nilang unconstitutional, no. I beg to disagree under the [concept of] parens patriae (parent of the nation),” said MMDA chair Benhur Abalos, Monday, in a public briefing.
“Ang state ay napaka-importante. We are on a crisis mode here.”
In connection with the MMDA resolution, the local governments in the National Capital Region (NCR) have issued their respective ordinances to prohibit the unvaccinated except for food, medicine, employment, or medical needs.
It was only January 6 when President Rodrigo Duterte said in a televised address that unvaccinated people who are still leaving their homes should be arrested, especially since the state has “police power” during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Restricting movement of unvaccinated in NCR constitutional – MMDA
“Why are we doing this? Precisely to help the unvaccinated… This is under police power of the state. Sana maunawaan nila na with this… Omicron which is highly infectious… in effect, we are trying to protect the unvaccinated,” Abalos added.
“Kung after one week mag-Alert Level 2, pwede na sila lumabas uli.”
Alert Level 3 in Metro Manila is expected to end on Saturday, January 15. However, Abalos said earlier in a separate Laging Handa briefing that Metro Manila mayors supported keeping NCR at Alert Level 3.
The MMDA further clarified that they could not be blamed for having their workers take RT-PCR tests from time to time, especially since they have just followed what the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF)resolution says.
In the latest Department of Health (DOH) data, it appears that 85% of those hospitalized and using oxygen in COVID-19 patients are consistently not fully-vaccinated. 93% of those who die from the virus still do not have complete protection against it.