Implement ECQ but allow passage of food cargoes, cops told

POLICEMEN manning Quarantine Control Points in Metro Manila and the rest of the country yesterday were ordered to further implement stricter measures to prevent the movement of unauthorized persons in their areas but at the same time ensure the unhampered passage of all food and non-food cargoes, the commander of the Joint Task Force COVID-19 Shield said.

“The instruction of PNP chief, General Archie Francisco Gamboa is to ensure the safe and unimpeded passage of all agribusiness and agricultural products and personnel in all QCPs in the country specifically in Luzon but at the same time, prevent the entry and exit of Non-Authorized Persons of Responsibility in their quarantine checkpoints,” said Lieutenant Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar, the Joint TF COVID-19 Shield commander and PNP Deputy Chief for Operations.

Eleazar in particular ordered National Capital Region Police Office 4-A director, Major Gen. Debold M. Sinas and Police Regional Office 4-A director, Brigadier Gen. Vicente D. Danao Jr. to see to it that their QCP personnel will block unauthorized person travelling from Metro Manila to Bicol region.

“We are reminding our men to block unauthorized persons from daily leaving their places of origin as part of our effort to prevent the further spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus,” said the PNP’s no. 3 official. The order comes in the wake of many reports about workers walking on foot from the metropolis to reach their homes in several parts of Luzon. Police have provided free rides for many authorized persons including health workers going to their place of work in Metro Manila since last week.

Gen. Gamboa has assured the country that basic goods will reach the market on time during the enhanced community quarantine to allay fears of the public and prevent the possibility of looting and other illegal activities.

Eleazar said they are daily checking the deployment of their personnel and reminding them that only authorized persons must be allowed to pass thru the QCPs and at the same time ensure the unimpeded passage of cargoes subject to the basic Department of Health protocol on the occupants.

The official maintained that QCPs were put up to prevent and restrict the movement of unauthorized people who could be carriers of the virus, not the cargoes needed by Filipinos to sustain their basic daily sustenance.

“Our instructions to our men on the field is to deal with the general public with utmost courtesy and discipline while the country remain on enhanced community quarantine,” he said.

Eleazar also said that the PNP leadership has instructed police forces nationwide to conduct a massive information drive to encourage all Filipinos to just stay home in the wake of the deadly COVID-19 threat.

“Apart from manning QCPs, our policemen are now also doing the rounds of different communities in their areas to remind our hardheaded countrymen that it would be better if they will stay inside their house,” he said.

Gen. Gamboa earlier reminded Filipino parents to look after their children particularly minors who have the tendency to violate curfew hours and the home quarantine program.

“To the parents, please see to it that your children especially minors will stay at home with you. Go out only if necessary for emergencies or health-related reasons but only one person is allowed to go outside,” the PNP chief said.

Police have already apprehended thousands of quarantine violators specifically in Metro Manila and Calabarzon region. Violators may face charges for violation of Article 151 of the Revised Penal Code and Republic Act 11332 (Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act), said Lt. Gen. Eleazar.