PNP retains quarantine control points as NCR+ eases to GCQ

Published May 14, 2021, 3:13 PM

by Martin Sadongdong

The Philippine National Police (PNP) announced Friday, May 14, that it will maintain the established quarantine control points (QCPs) in the National Capital Region and its four bordering provinces even as these areas–collectively known as NCR-plus–would soon implement the more lax general community quarantine (GCQ).

PNP Chief, Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar during his visit to a Muslim community in Quezon City on May 13, 2021. His visit coincided with the Eid’l Fitr celebration. (Photo from PNP)

PNP Chief Police General Guillermo Eleazar ordered the policemen manning the QCPs to arrest and charge those who will be caught illegally entering and exiting the NCR-plus.

“The PNP will strictly implement the guidelines issued by the national government regarding the latest quarantine status. The NCR-plus will be under GCQ with heightened restrictions, [which means] non-essential or unnecessary travel is still prohibited to and from NCR Plus,” he said.

Duterte announced on Thursday night that NCR-plus — composed of Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal — will be placed under GCQ with heightened restrictions from May 15 to May 31.

The following areas will also be under GCQ: Apayao, Baguio City, Benguet, Kalinga, Mountain Province, Abra, Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Batangas, Quezon, Puerto Princesa, Iligan City, Davao City, and Lanao del Sur.

The city of Santiago, Quirino, Ifugao, and Zamboanga City will be placed under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) for the same period while the rest of the country will be under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).

Eleazar alerted cops in QCPs to keep an eye on individuals who will try to “smuggle” persons into the NCR-plus. Several people were arrested in March and April for such offense, defying rules on essential travels, through cargo vehicles and passenger vans.

He reminded the cops to ensure that only persons on essential travel or Authorized Persons Outside of Residence (APOR) are allowed in or out of the NCR-plus.

“Sa ating kapulisan, siguraduhin ninyo na wala kayong palalampasing mga sasakyan ng gusto lang magliwaliw sa panahon ng pandemya (To our policemen, make sure that you will not allow vehicles that are merely out for leisure activities while we are in a pandemic),” Eleazar stressed.

The police general also appealed to business establishments, which have been allowed to operate under GCQ with heightened restrictions, to strictly observe the assigned capacity rates for their businesses.

“There are also some adjustments on the capacity [that] we need to observe such as for indoor and outdoor or alfresco dining, outdoor tourist attractions, religious gatherings, funerals, [and] wakes,” he said.

According to the Palace, indoor dine-in services in NCR-plus shall be at 20 percent seating capacity while outdoor or al fresco dining shall be at 50 percent seating capacity.

Outdoor tourist attractions in NCR-plus may be opened at 30 percent capacity with strict adherence to minimum public heatlh standards, it added, while specialized markets of the Department of Tourism (DOT) are also allowed to operate.

Religious gatherings, necrological services, wakes, inurnments, and funerals for those who died of causes other than the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) shall also be allowed at 10 percent venue capacity.

Lastly, non-contact sports in outdoor contact sports, games, scrimmages, and personal care services that do no require mask removal such as salons, parlors, and beauty clinics, among others have also been greenlit at 30 percent capacity.

“We appeal to establishments to strictly follow these protocols to avoid mass gatherings in your businesses. You need to properly implement physical distancing,” Eleazar said.

Failure to follow the guidelines set by the national government could lead to the closure of the business establishments, he warned.