Eleazar tells LGUs: don't block cargo, use uniform guidelines on home quarantine rules

Published March 24, 2020, 7:46 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Aaron Recuenco

Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, deputy chief for operations of the Philippine National Police (PNP), called on all local government units (LGUs) across the country to apply uniform rules on home quarantine by using the guidelines crafted by the Joint Task Force Corona Virus (JTF CV) Shield, especially on the unhampered travel of cargo and other vehicles delivering food and other basic needs.

Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar (PNP / MANILA BULLETIN / FILE PHOTO)
Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar

Reports have reached Camp Crame that there are some LGUs that have been implementing stricter measures that go against the basic guidelines issued by the JTF CV Shield.

“This is actually a minor challenge that we are facing, because probably due to the desire of some local government units to implement stricter rules, in a sense they are going against the basic guidelines,” Eleazar said in the Laging Handa briefing aired on PTV 4 on Tuesday.

Eleazar is the designated commander of JTF CV Shield, the implementing arm of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) which was earlier formed to help contain the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

Eleazar particularly mentioned that some LGUs intercept cargo trucks and other vehicles delivering food items and other basic needs to various areas, particularly in Luzon.

The official said the guidelines crafted by JTF CV Shield clearly state that the travel of cargo should be allowed unhampered from one town or city to another.

Top government officials emphasized the need for the unhampered travel of cargo in order to prevent food shortage and the scarcity of supplies of other basic needs like medicine and water amid the
Luzon-wide implementation of the enhanced community quarantine.

Various areas in the Visayas and Mindanao are already implementing a lockdown in their bid to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

In doing so, Eleazar said a problem arises when some LGUs craft their own guidelines. In some cases, Eleazar said that even barangay officials are also implementing their own rules.

The official said that even PNP chief Gen. Archie Gamboa has been receiving such complaints from the field commanders.

“Our Chief PNP has been very specific that cargoes must move freely. He has been giving orders to address the problems that would come up in the implementation of the rules,” Eleazar said.

In order to address the problem, Eleazar said JTF CV Shield is now coordinating with all police regional directors down to the city and municipal police chiefs for the cascading of the simplified rules on how the quarantine must be implemented.

Eleazar also reminded LGUs about the statements of President Duterte and Interior Secretary Eduardo Año to respect the IATF’s decisions on all COVID-19-related measures.

Eleazar said JTF CV Shield regularly publishes a list of those who are exempted from home quarantine, with the latest update released Monday night.

“We are regularly meeting for any changes and updates on the rules, so it is incumbent upon them to use our guidelines because it is the JTF CV Shield which implements the quarantine control points,” Eleazar said.

Aside from the PNP, the military, the Philippine Coast Guard, and the Bureau of Fire Protection are also members of  JTF CV Shield.

Eleazar emphasized the need to have uniform rules on home quarantine and exemptions in order to avoid confusion, not only among the public, but also the government personnel implementing them.

Since mayors and governors have police power, there were cases when they ordered the police to implement their own rules, eventually disregarding those crafted by  JTF CV Shield.

But Eleazar said they have been monitoring improvements on the implementation since the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine was implemented.