A TOTAL of 2,781 drivers of public transport vehicles were apprehended and issued traffic citation tickets by agents of the Philippine National Police Highway Patrol Group for plying their routes despite the Enhanced Community Quarantine in Luzon from March 17 to last April 9, the Journal Group learned yesterday.
According to PNP-HPG director, Brigadier General Eliseo DC Cruz, the erring drivers were apprehended in Metro Manila and parts of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao during the period and were issued Temporary Operator’s Permit by his men.
Cruz said that the violators include 731 taxi drivers, 186 bus drivers, 299 jeepney drivers, 422 public utility van drivers and 1,143 tricycle drivers.
The PNP-HPG strictly implemented the presidential directive suspending all forms of public transport in Luzon to help prevent further spreads of the deadly COVID-19 virus.
Apart from going after violators of the transport van, PNP-HPG operatives are also continuing their campaign against car and motorcycle theft, highway robbery and hijacking in the country.
Last Friday afternoon, Bulacan Highway Patrol Team agents who were conducting patrol arrested a 47-year old Marawi City native who yielded a loaded firearm and shabu following a brief chase in Guiguinto municipality.
The suspect identified as Pendaton Sarip Guilang tried to escape while being flagged down by a team of officers from the Regional Highway Patrol Unit 3 who spotted him driving a suspicious vehicle along Cyberville Avenue in Guiguinto town past 5 p.m. Friday.
When finally stopped, the suspect yielded a chamber-loaded caliber .380 pistol with a magazine containing seven live ammunition as well as a pouch which was found containing 17 spare bullets and three plastic sachets containing suspected shabu, four lighters, four strips of used aluminum foils and a wallet containing P5,260 in various denominations.
The PNP-HPG was also assigned to man Dedicated Control Points (DCPs) put up to inspect all cargo vehicles in Luzon and other parts of the country.
Upon the approval of PNP chief, General Archie Francisco F. Gamboa, a total of 115 DCPs have been set up nationwide to ensure the unhampered movement of cargo vehicles carrying food items and other basic necessities during the Luzon-wide Enhanced Community Quarantine which has been extended by President Duterte until April 30.
National Task Force COVID-19 Shield commander, PNP Deputy Chief for Operations, Lieutenant Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar said all these DCPs are being manned and supervised by 563 officers of the PNP-HPG and augmented by local police forces.
Gen. Gamboa has ordered the PNP-HPG to help secure cargo vehicles amid complaints of the delay in their movement due to redundant inspections being conducted in different control points set up along major thoroughfares across the country.
He said 44 of the DCPs are located in Luzon where the ECQ is strictly being implemented while the rest are spread in different parts of Visayas and Mindanao.
“The movement of cargo vehicles have significantly improved since the establishment of the DCPs. This is what President Duterte wants—ensure that delivery of food items and other basic goods are not delayed because of the current situation we are into,” said the official.