Expect more stringent inspection at metro borders, says NCRPO
MANILA, Philippines – If you thought the first day of the implementation of the checkpoints was a hassle, expect the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) to conduct a more stringent inspection at the borders of Metro Manila in the coming days with the execution of a nine-hour curfew.
NCRPO chief Maj. Gen. Debold Sinas said on Sunday that police have received word that the manner by which law enforcers from both the police and military conducted the checkpoints was a tad too loose, despite the restriction in movement going in and out of Metro Manila as the community quarantine took effect Saturday midnight.
“Kasi we are still on the warning mode, hindi kaagad natin ma-implement na mahigpit agad… when the time lapses, hihigpitan natin, so ngayon okay pa lang ‘yan,” he said in a press briefing at the Quezon City Police District.
(Since we are still on warning mode, we did not strictly implement the restriction immediately. When the time comes, we will have more stringent measures, but for now that is okay.)
“Mamaya, mag-umpisa na ‘yan, dahan-dahan na ‘yan. We will not enforce drastically because ang guidance naman ay hindi rin drastic. Ang guidance namin sa taas ay paki-usapan, i-guide, we do the maximum tolerance,” he added.
(Later, we will begin a stricter implementation gradually. We will not enforce drastically because the guidance given to us was to not implement it drastically. Our guidance is to ask the public to cooperate, to apply maximum tolerance.)
At the start of the Metro Manila lockdown, people noted that quarantine officers in the northern borders of NCR did not apprehend motorists, and instead allowed them to move in and out of Valenzuela and Caloocan City.
However, in the southern parts of the capital region, authorities looked for identification cards and checked the temperature of motorists and commuters, drawing confusion among the public.
President Rodrigo Duterte last Friday placed the whole NCR under a “community quarantine” to prevent local transmission after a surge of COVID-19 cases.
As of now, the Philippines has 111 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with eight deaths.
All over the world, there are over 152,000 persons infected with COVID-19, while 5,801 individuals have died. Most of the incidents and the casualties came from China, twhere the virus supposedly originated.
Sinas explained that they are only resorting to warning travelers as there is no law to prevent them from moving around Metro Manila. He also said that they would be releasing new guidelines for their personnel.
“Sa ngayon ang guidance, wawarningan lang, bago tayo magkahulihan, kasi wala naman talagang specific na batas dyan, para hindi rin magalit ang mga publiko sa atin,” Sinas noted. “Pero kapag may maraming makulit talaga, kapag may nasita dyan picturan niyo.”
(As of now the guidance is only to warn, and not to arrest anyone, because there is really no specific law for that. It is also in order to avoid the public from being mad at us. But if they really insist, we have asked officers to take pictures of them.)
Sinas said that the NCRPO will come up with a new to-do checklist for its personnel in identifying those motorists who will resist the checkpoint.
No commuters with fever
During its overnight police visibility operations within at the borders, the NCRPO said it has not recorded any commuter running a fever, although Sinas admitted that they have yet to cover the 65 identified chokepoints inside NCR.
“That’s the problem, wala na pong mga scanner na nabibili, that’s why we’re appealing, naghahanap din kami. Bumili na kami ng scanner, ‘yong thermal scanners namin ang priniority namin muna sa mga QRT (quick reaction team) namin on COVID-19, doon sa mga kampo at stations natin. Baka ‘yong iba i-direct namin sa checkpoints namin,” he added.
(That’s the problem, we have no thermal scanner to buy, that’s why we’re appealing, we’re also looking for scanners to buy. We bought some scanners, but they were prioritized to the quick reaction teams we deployed for COVID-19. The other scanners were placed at the camps and stations, maybe we can direct some to the checkpoints.)
The Inquirer Foundation supports our healthcare frontliners and is still accepting cash donations to be deposited at Banco de Oro (BDO) current account #007960018860 or donate through PayMaya using this link .
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.