At least 20 police checkpoints have been set up in the bubble boundaries of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal to stop unnecessary travels from March 22 to April 4, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said on Monday.
DILG Undersecretary and spokesperson Jonathan Malaya in a briefing said the inter-Agency Task force (IATF) has tightened travel restrictions in the bubble areas of Metro Manila, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal and Laguna as these areas were identified with the most COVId-19 cases.
On March 20, the Department of Health (DOH) recorded 7,999 COVID-19 cases, the highest recorded so far in a single day.
Malaya said that the checkpoints are located in the boundaries of Bulacan and Pampanga, Cavite and Batangas, Laguna and Quezon and Rizal leading to other adjacent areas.
The DILG official noted that no checkpoints were placed in the barangays of the National Capital Region (NCR) for the purpose of the bubble.
However, Malaya revealed that 10,000 policemen were deployed in Metro Manila including those assigned at the checkpoints for purposes of the curfew restriction from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.
Malaya emphasized that the essential travelers crossing borders need to show documents that they “need to move for work’’ which may include emergency and health frontline services personnel, government personnel with essentials tasks, humanitarian company personnel and persons traveling for medical or humanitarian reasons.
Airport travelers going abroad, those coming back to Metro Manila from leisure trips, returning Filipinos from overseas and Overseas Filipino workers (OFW) may also be allowed entry to their respective destinations.
However, Malaya explained that travelers on leisure trips or tourism purposes are prohibited from entering the provinces outside the bubble areas be it land, air and sea travel.
In implementing the travel bubble, Malaya explained that both private vehicles and public transport entering and leaving Metro Manila will be inspected at the checkpoints.
He said that the commuters may be required to alight from the transport vehicle for inspection while private vehicle occupants need only to put their windows down and show proof like identification cards (ID) that their travel is essential and not for leisure purposes.
If an authorized person outside residence (APOR) is tested COVID-19 positive in provinces that require RT-PCR test, he needs to be placed under quarantine in the LGU of his destination.
In the case of senior citizens, Malaya noted that they may be allowed to go out to purchase essential needs like food and medicines as long as the minimum health standards are strictly observed.
Malaya added that senior citizens are permitted to engage in non-contact sports activities and physical exercise provided that they are done near their residence and not in other areas.
Citing as examples, Malaya said senior citizens from Parañaque City should not go to the University of the Philippines (UP) campus to jog or walk or Las Piñas City elderly to exercise at the Luneta Park in Manila as these defeats the purpose of the ‘stay home’’ policy of the government.