Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra on Wednesday, April 7, said he will order the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to look into reports of “smuggling” of persons untested for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) into the National Capital Region which is under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).
Guevarra acted on the call of Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur P. Tugade for law enforcement agencies to stop such activities which he believes have been contributing to the rise of COVID-19 cases.
“We’ll respond to the call of DOTr Secretary Art Tugade. I’ll direct the NBI to look into these alleged incidents of ‘human smuggling’ and conduct a full-blown investigation if there is any indication that the practice is widespread,” he assured.
Tugade said he has received information that closed vans and trucks have been used to smuggle people through the borders of Metro Manila in exchange for cash.
He noted that those who have been smuggled into the metropolis were being fetched by commuter vans.
“These things must not be tolerated. Let’s move strong on this. This should be stopped,” Tugade said.
He pointed out that the entire nation will be compromised and “all our efforts in testing, isolation and treatment will go to waste because of this.”
NCR and the provinces of Laguna, Cavite, Rizal and Bulacan have been placed under ECQ until April 11. As such, movements of persons in the areas are restricted.