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Homebound travelers exempted from policy

THE Department of Transportation (DoTr) has ordered the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) to allow unvaccinated passengers returning to their homes access to all seaport terminals as they are exempted from the “no vaccine, no travel” policy.

This, as Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade directed PPA General Manager Jay Daniel Santiago to immediately conduct corrective measures following reports that unvaccinated passengers were stranded at the Manila North Harbor since January 19.

“The PPA assured me that these instructions will be executed not later than this morning (Thursday),” Tugade said.

Aside from allowing the stranded passengers with children to return home to their provinces, the PPA will provide stranded passengers with food, assist in the costs of their tickets and give financial assistance.

“My instruction from the very beginning is plain and simple — the policy should be implemented as patient and tolerant as possible, but firm,” Tugade said.

DoTr Assistant Secretary Goddess Hope Libiran explained that the primary rule is that returning home is a form of essential travel and therefore exempted from the policy.

“So, kahit may kasamang bata o wala, kung may proof na palabas o papasok ng Metro Manila para umuwi sa kanilang permanenteng tirahan, allowed 'yon at kasama sa exceptions (With or without children, if they can show proof while going in and out of Metro Manila of their permanent residency, they are allowed and covered by exceptions),” Libiran said.

According to the Transportation department, the children were not allowed to board because their parents were not vaccinated or could not show proper requirements.

The department also said it will launch a five-day mobile Covid-19 vaccination drive at the Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange for commuters and transport workers from January 24 to 28.

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