AFP, PNP to set up checkpoints in Metro

MEMBERS of the Armed Forces and the National Capital Region Police Office will man checkpoints in major thoroughfares leading to Metro Manila to enforce the community quarantine ordered by President Duterte starting Monday next week.

However, Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo M. Año said that workers living outside the National Capital Region just need to show their company ID as proof they are working in the metropolis and follow precautionary measures such as hand sanitation and undergo temperature check to be allowed through the checkpoints.

Covered are workers living in provinces outside Metro Manila which include Rizal, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Zambales and Bataan. There are many workers, both from private and government agencies, living in these areas who either rent houses in the metropolis or commute every day.

Patients undergoing medical treatment in Metro Manila will also need to present proof in order to be allowed entry in the capital region once the community quarantine is in full effect, he added.

The DILG chief said that the Department of Transportation will issue a protocol for mass transportation in order to cater to workers outside Metro Manila.

According to Año, people from nearby cities and provinces employed in NCR can still go to work since they are widely considered as part of the Philippine capital’s population by day.

He issued the statement a day after the Commander-in-Chief announced a “community quarantine” in Metro Manila with travel—whether by land, sea, or domestic air—in and out of the metropolis prohibited starting midnight Sunday to effectively prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“Papayagan ‘yong mga magtatrabaho na pumasok provided lang na mayroon silang ID. Mayroon lang magpapatunay na ang work nila ay dito sa Metro Manila,” Año said although he encouraged the private sector to implement a more flexible schedule for their employees or a work-from-home scheme if possible.

“We also have to consider ‘yong mga kababayan nating nagtatrabaho lalo na ‘yong mga ordinaryong trabaho pero ‘yong mga pwedeng mag-work sa bahay, we encourage na mag-work from home na lang at magkaroon sana ng flexible schedule sana sa mga private sector. Sana kaya nilang gawin ‘yong para sana mabawasan ‘yong mga taong nagbibiyahe,” the DILG chief said.

Although the AFP and the PNP will organize forces that will man checkpoints, Año maintained it is not a ‘total lockdown but a community quarantine.’

“Hindi naman po natin sinasabi itong total lockdown. We are just expecting movement especially coming in and going out of Manila. Unang-una, ayaw na nating magspread itong virus from [Metro] Manila and going outside of Metro Manila,” he explained.

Año said Filipinos have to bear with the situation as the Duterte government is doing its best to contain the spread of the deadly virus. “It’s really inconvenient but there’s no alternative. Ganyan talaga ‘yan. May inconvenience, may sakripisyo, and somehow titigil ang ating ekonomiya at maaapektuhan. Pero huwag kayong matakot. Huwag kayong mag-panic. We are doing this for the good of everyone. Hindi naman ito lockdown o total lockdown. We are just making sure na hindi mag-iispread ‘yong virus going to the provinces,” he said.

As of yesterday, Philippine National Police officials headed by General Archie Francisco F. Gamboa and National Capital Region Police Office director, Major Gen. Debold M. Sinas were studying where the police checkpoints will be placed.