By Aaron Recuenco and Argyll Cyrus Geducos
The Joint Task Force Corona Virus Shield (JTF CV Shield) tapped on Friday the police’s Highway Patrol Group (HPG) in securing cargo vehicles that deliver food and other basic needs in various parts of Luzon where the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) is strictly being enforced.
Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, JTF CV Shield commander, said that the move is aimed at ensuring that the movement of cargo vehicles are unhampered and unimpeded, stressing the importance of the movement of the food and other basic needs in this time when home quarantine rules are in place.
“This was done to further facilitate the unhampered and unimpeded movement of cargoes that deliver food and other basic needs amid the strict implementation of home quarantine rules,” said Eleazar.
Eleazar said the tapping of the HPG was approved by Philippine National Police (PNP chief Gen, Archie Gamboa, who also ordered the HPG leadership to coordinate with local police commanders to ensure that proper guidelines for cargoes are crafted and implemented.
Based on the plan of the JTF CV Shield, HPG personnel are tasked to set up Dedicated Control Points (DCPs) where cargo vehicles on provincial boundaries and other strategic areas regularly move.
The DCPs will be manned and supervised by HPG personnel.
The DCPs could be set up in the existing Quarantine Control Points or QCPs. But once it is done, the QCPS will be immediately be converted to DCPs and will be manned and under the supervision of HPG personnel.
QCPs, it was recalled, are manned by policemen and soldiers and have been in charge of the inspection of both the private and cargo vehicles, as well as in ensuring that only Authorized Persons Outside Residence (APOR) are allowed to pass. QCPs are usually set up at the boundaries between municipalities or cities and manned by the local police.
With the establishment of the DCPs, Eleazar said all vehicles carrying cargoes like trucks, vans, pick-up and jeepneys are exempted from being flagged down or checked at the QCPs.
“The objective here is to ensure that deliveries of food and other basic goods are not subjected to unnecessary and redundant inspections which are the usual reason of the delay,” said.
The inspection of cargo vehicles, according to Eleazar, will only be done at the DCPs. But he said the inspection will only be done if necessary.
“HPG units were also given the leeway to set up DCPs in areas which they deem strategic, it does not necessarily mean that the DCPs will only be set up on provincial boundaries,” said Eleazar.
“But what is important is this rule: Cargo vehicles will only be inspected at HPG-manned and HPG-supervised Dedicated Control Points, and inspection will only be done if necessary. These cargo vehicles must not be flagged down or inspected at the QCPs,” he added.
Initially, Eleazar said the DCPs will only be set up in Luzon but he said this will be expanded in the Visayas and Mindanao as soon as possible.
In case of concerns and problems relating to the movement of cargoes, drivers and owners of cargo vehicles could call the HPG hotline: 0926-2255474.
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles announced on Friday the launch of the RapidPass System which will enable authorized individuals and vehicles to pass by checkpoints easier as the entire Luzon continues to be under an enhanced community quarantine due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Nograles said the RapidPass System was launched to limit the contact between individuals exempted from quarantine restrictions and personnel manning the checkpoints.
Under the system, frontliners in the checkpoints will use a QR code scanner to scan the unique QR codes that will be given to qualified or authorized individuals or vehicles. They can immediately pass the checkpoints after their codes are scanned.