A BARANGAY in Davao City withdrew its "stay-at-home" policy for unvaccinated residents and the "no vaccine card, no transaction" policy at its barangay hall after receiving backlash online.

Barangay Angalan in Tugbok District issued Memorandum 2022-01-01, dated January 11, which states that all unvaccinated persons must stay at home and those unvaccinated will not be catered inside the barangay.

The memo issued and signed by Barangay Captain Rogelio Ico cited the order of President Rodrigo Duterte to restrain the movement of people who are unvaccinated against Covid-19.

"Dili pagawason sa ilang property, magpundo lang kamo sa inyong balay or sulod sa inyong property ug giawhag pod nga magpa-bakuna na ang wala pa nakabunahan [sic] (Unvaccinated individuals will not be allowed to leave their homes or properties and are encouraged to get vaccinated)," Ico said in the memo.

Ico said those who will refuse to obey the order will be arrested and be brought to the nearest police station.

"Apan kung magmahagi kamo sa pagtuman sa mandu, gitahasan ang atong kapitan sa pag aresto sa mga dili motuman og dalhon kamo ngadto sa istasyon sa pulisya [sic] (If you refuse to follow the mandate, our barangay officials are authorized to arrest you or bring you to the nearest police station)," he said.

The order was criticized by residents and netizens, forcing the barangay to discontinue its implementation.

Ico explained in a radio interview on Wednesday, January 13, that the memorandum has not yet been released for implementation.

However, screenshots of the memo, which was originally sent to the group chat of the barangay, may have been allegedly leaked and circulated online.

He also explained that he only abided with the President's order.

"Maong naghimo ko og memorandum pero unimplemented pa na siya (This is why I made the memorandum, but it is still unimplemented)," Ico said in a radio interview on 87.5 FM Davao City Disaster Radio.

The official admitted that his memo is in violation of Republic Act (RA) 11525, or the Covid-19 Vaccination Program Act of 2021.

He cited that his policy violated Section 12 of the RA, which states that "vaccination or vaccine card is NOT a mandatory requirement for educational, employment, and other government transactions."

Ico also said not going through with policy against unvaccinated individuals is also due to Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio’s statement not to discriminate against those unvaccinated by restricting their movement. Hence, they must be informed and convinced, but not forced to be vaccinated.

The barangay official was also not aware of the backlash the policy received until someone from the barangay informed him of the negative feedback among constituents.

He also assured that he will enforce the policy only if there will be a legal basis from the city or the national government.

He added that he only crafted the policy to protect those unvaccinated, who are vulnerable to the Covid-19 virus.

"Kung kaming barangay captain dili mi mutabang, dili mulihok sa city ug national, walay implementation mahitabo. Ang barangay leader diha gyud magsulod ang disciplinary action (If we barangay captains will not take action, if there is still no action from the city and national government, there will be no policies that will be implemented. Barangay leaders will take the initiative to enforce disciplinary action)," Ico said.

As of January 13, the official said an approximate 3,000 out of the 5,000 estimated population of Angalan had already been vaccinated.

But following the President's statement, Ico said a majority of the remaining 2,000 residents had already lined up at the vaccination hubs to get vaccinated.

The President, in his Talk to the People Thursday night, January 6, said unvaccinated people who refuse to heed orders of authorities must be restrained to protect themselves and everybody in the community.

Duterte’s directive came as the Philippines has now been considered “high risk” for Covid-19 with the spike in the number of infections especially in the National Capital Region (NCR) and nearby provinces.

But Duterte-Carpio, the President’s daughter, is not in favor of implementing laws restricting the movements of the unvaccinated.

The mayor said, though, that the City Government, since the start of the Covid-19 vaccination in March 2021, did not make it mandatory to the public.

She said unless there will be a national law or guidelines restricting them, the city is not keen on implementing rules against unvaccinated persons.

Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG)-Davao Director Alex Roldan, meanwhile, told SunStar Davao in a phone interview that barangays cannot enforce restrictions on unvaccinated residents unless there is an existing ordinance with their respective locality.

He also said that arresting them is not allowed unless there is a legal basis.

“Hangyuon lang nato sila na dili sila mag-sige’g gawas-gawas. (We can only encourage them to refrain from going out.) But if they resist and result in violence, posible nga pwede mugamit ang barangay kapitan sa iyahang authority (that is the possible way barangay captains can enforce their authority),” Roldan said.

The official also advised those unvaccinated to refrain from going out except for essential purposes.