By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
The government has ordered a stricter implementation of quarantine measures due to the increase in the number of persons caught violating the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) guidelines, the Inter-agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases announced on Wednesday.
Cabinet Secretary and IATF spokesman Karlo Nograles said the Philippine National Police (PNP) reported that 108,088 persons have violated the Luzon-wide ECQ as of April 13.
In his Wednesday virtual press conference, Nograles said President Duterte ordered the strict implementation of quarantine measures after he noticed that Filipinos have become complacent regarding the partial lockdown which was imposed due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
He also noted the reported increase in the number of vehicles traveling along EDSA and major thoroughfares in Metro Manila.
“Sa utos ng ating Pangulo (By the orders of the President), the PNP will strictly impose the policy on Authorized Persons Outside of Residence (APOR),” Nograles said.
According to Nograles, the PNP-Highway Patrol Group (HPG) has been directed to implement the following measures beginning April 15:
The inspection of private vehicles to determine whether the driver and passengers belong to the list of APOR or not; and
If the driver or any of the passengers is unauthorized, HPG will issue LTO-TOP or MMDA-OVR tickets against drivers of private vehicles transporting Unauthorized Persons Outside Residence as identified by JTF CV Shield.
Nograles asked for the public’s understanding as to why the government had to enforce strict measures.
“Sana po intindihin natin na magiging effective lang itong ECQ sa pag-contain ng COVID-19 kung tayo ay hindi basta-basta na lang nakakaikot at nakakalabas (I hope we understand that the ECQ will only be effective in containing COVID-19 if we cannot easily go around the streets),” he said.
“This is all being done for us and our families in order to prevent the virus from spreading. We appeal to everyone to please cooperate and, as much as possible, stay home,” he added.
The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has released a list of APOR. These include all workers under medical services, funeral services, food services, emergency responders, security services banks, and money transfer services.
Workers in supermarkets, groceries, conveniences stores, sari-sari stores, public markets, and pharmacies or drugstores are also considered APOR. Agribusinesses and agricultural workers are also exempted from quarantine restrictions.
Other authorized personnel include other government officials and their support staff.
Media practitioners, including the Presidential Communication Operations Office (PCOO) and its attached agencies, are included in the list of APOR. Unified ID cards issued by the IATF are required in the National Capital Region.