565 EDSA ECQ violators apprehended

A TOTAL of 565 Enhanced Community Quarantine violators in EDSA and other major thoroughfares on Metro Manila have been apprehended and issued traffic citation tickets by agents of the Philippine National Police Highway Patrol Group (PNP-HPG) since it launched a crackdown on all vehicle-riding Unauthorized Persons Outside of Residence in Luzon, the Journal Group learned yesterday.

“As of last Monday, a total of 565 motor vehicle drivers on EDSA have been issued Temporary Operator’s Permit after they were apprehended and their licenses confiscated. They will have to redeem their driver’s licenses from the Land Transportation Office after paying fines depending on their violations,” said PNP-HPG director, Brigadier General Eliseo DC Cruz.

Yesterday, Cruz and his men were joined anew by Metro Manila Development Authority officials and traffic enforcers in flagging down drivers on EDSA who are either UPORs driving for Authorized Persons Outside of Residence (APORs) or APORs having passengers who are UPORs. Either of the two  violates of Republic Act 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act and RA 922 and the Enhanced Community Quarantine Rules.

On orders of PNP chief, General Archie Francisco F. Gamboa, the PNP-HPG is going after ECQ including social distancing violators on EDSA and other major thoroughfares in the country.

Gen. Gamboa gave the order after heavy traffic was experienced on EDSA two weeks ago. As a result, EDSA was cleared of hundreds of UPORs since then and the PNP chief said they expect the situation to continue until the present crisis is over.

PNP-HPG operatives also led the way in apprehending nearly 9,951 drivers of Public Utility Vehicles for violating the prohibition on public transport since the start of the ECQ period last March 17, said Joint Task Force COVID Shield commander, Lieutenant Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar.

Eleazar said their order for the PNP-HPG is very clear:  to be very strict in enforcing the home quarantine and social distancing rules on private vehicles. “If there is at least one UPOR (Unauthorized Persons Outside of Residence) as passenger or the only occupant is the driver but he is also UPOR, we will arrest them,” he said.

The Joint Task Force COVID Shield said that from March 17 to April 27 or the past 42 days of ECQ enforcement, a total of 150,585 ECQ violators have been apprehended, many of them for curfew violation and disobedience to authorities.

Of the total, 104,015 or 69 percent were given warning that they will be arrested for a repeated offense while 8,648 or 6 percent were ordered to pay fines imposed by local government units.

Another 8,840 or 23 percent were inquested for ECQ violations while 29,082 or 77 percent of the overall figure were subjected to regular filing of cases.

Eleazar said their ‘Oplan Habol’ specifically targets drivers of private vehicles who are not  APORs or are wantonly violating the social distancing inside private cars by having two or more passengers.

Eleazar said PNP-HPG agents have been tasked to check if private vehicle owners are complying with the guidelines of the ECQ amid observations regarding the huge presence of vehicles on EDSA last week.