POLICE on midnight of Thursday placed Metro Manila under lockdown as it started enforcing an Enhanced Community Quarantine in the metropolis from August 6 to 20 in the latest government bid to help further reduce COVID-19 transmissions in the country.
Philippine National Police chief General Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar also said fetching Authorized Persons Outside Residence (APOR) to and from their workplaces will now be allowed during the 2-week ECQ in the metropolis.
“Ngayon po, after weighing all these things, nagbigay po ng bagong guidance ngayon na ia-allow na po ‘yun, itong mga ito, itong mga non-APOR na maghahatid sa ating mga APOR,” Gen. Eleazar said.
However, he explained that non-APORs who will drive for working APORs should present a Certificate of Employment of the Worker-APOR from the Employer indicating the name of the designated Non-APOR driver/fetcher; the type/make and plate number of the vehicle to be used and the contact number of the employer; and a copy of the business permit of the employer.
The top cop has asked patience from the public amid the expected long lines of vehicles in different Quarantine Control Points put up by the force to enforce the much stricter lockdown in NCR.
“Bilang dating commander ng Joint Task Force COVID shield, nakita ko based on experience ang matinding traffic sa mga border control points sa bawat pagpapatupad ng mahigpit na quarantine rules sa Metro Manila kaya naman nagkaroon kami noon ng mga istratehiya upang mabawasan ang traffic build-up na siya namang inaasahan kong ipatupad lalo na sa pagsisimula ng ECQ implementation sa August 6,” he said.
Gen. Eleazar was the commander of the JTF COVID Shield when Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon were placed under ECQ in March last year.
It was the JTF COVID Shield under his leadership which laid down the strategies that include the setting up of what is now called Quarantine Control Points, as well as the Dedicated Control Points to ensure the smooth travel of cargo and trucks delivering essential goods.
One of the strategies implemented by Gen. Eleazar when he was still the JTF-COVID Shield commander was allowing all vehicles to pass the QCPs to ease traffic build-up but these vehicles will be subjected to random checks in mobile checkpoints set up in key areas within Metro Manila.
Border checkpoints were installed at the NCR Plus beginning at 12 a.m. Sunday following a directive from Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo M. Año for the PNP to restrict the movement of the public and to ensure that only essential travel and services as well as the free movement of goods will be allowed.
Gen. Eleazar advised the public to prepare, beforehand, the required documents to be presented to police officers manning the QCPs.
“Sa mga APORs, ihanda ninyo na rin ang inyong mga dokumento o IDs na kailangan para maging mabilis ang pag-usad ng pila sa ating mga QCPs,” he said.
“Hinihingi din namin ang kooperasyon ng ating mga kababayan na manatili na lang sa bahay kung kinakailangan dahil hindi din naman sila papayagan pumasok sa Metro Manila at magiging bahagi lang sila ng suliranin sa trapiko at baka mahawa pa sila ng Delta dahil sa katigasan ng ulo, lalo na kung hindi naman sila bakunado,” the PNP chief added.
The National Capital Region Police Office headed by Major Gen. Vicente D. Danao Jr. will strictly enforce the ECQ amid the threat posed by the more infectious coronavirus Delta variant.
Police will tightly guard all entry and exit points in Metro Manila as Gen. Eleazar said that consumers buying essential goods will also be prohibited from crossing NCR towns and city borders from August 6 to 20 where they will be covered by the curfew.
The PNP chief said that during the ECQ, every city in Metro Manila will be turned into a “tiny bubble” where consumers with quarantine passes will be prohibited from passing the borders.
“Pagdating po ng ECQ, itong malaking bubble na ito ay magiging parang mga tiny bubble na po ‘yan. Yung bawat city sa loob ng Metro Manila magsisilbing isa nang bubble area,” he explained.
The Joint Task Force COVID Shield headed by PNP Deputy Chief for Operations, Lieutenant Gen. Israel Ephraim T. Dickson released the list of people who will be allowed to go outside their homes during the ECQ in the metropolis.
The official said employers and workers in essential manufacturing, establishment services and industries will be allowed outdoors. Members of the media are automatically included in the list.