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Transition to GCQ a ‘challenge’ – Eleazar

MANILA, Philippines — Joint Task Force coronavirus disease (JTF COVID) Shield commander Police Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar on Sunday admitted that it would be more challenging to enforce restrictions should the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) transition to general community quarantine (GCQ).

“Insofar as the police is concerned, GCQ will be more challenging for us because it’s not exactly [going] back to normal. I mean there would be more people, more vehicles,” he said.

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Eleazar said in an interview over radio station dzBB, pointing out that more establishments and sectors would be allowed to operate with the partial reopening of the economy.

He explained that under GCQ, the JTF COVID Shield could not inspect all vehicles passing through checkpoints without causing a gridlock, particularly in Metro Manila and other densely populated areas.

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Retain curfew hours

The JTF COVID Shield commander said retaining curfew hours and increasing police visibility as well as random checks would help in ensuring that measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 are observed, and in sustaining low crime incidence.

He said that under GCQ, the police would conduct random checks on establishments, which are allowed to operate, in coordination with the owners, to make sure physical distancing and wearing of face masks are observed. Eleazar said the establishments could help by issuing reminders on anti-COVID-19 measures to their clientele.

In a statement, Eleazar assured the public that the Philippine National Police had drafted a security plan for the possible lifting of ECQ in parts of Metro Manila and other regions that would focus on police visibility adjustments.

Primarily, he noted that PNP chief Archie Gamboa wanted to sustain the decrease of criminal activities since the Luzon-wide lockdown was implemented on March 17 where a 61-percent decline on the crime volume was observed.

As the country prepares to relax quarantine rules after May 15, a top House leader has pressed his peers in Congress to speed up approval of the bill providing for “new normal” protocols for social distancing in schools, workplaces, commercial establishments and other public spaces.

Deputy Speaker Luis Raymund Villafuerte Jr. on Sunday called on the House and the Senate to prioritize the enactment of House Bill No. 6623, or the proposed New Normal for the Workplace and Public Spaces Act of 2020, which envisions a post quarantine way of life for Filipinos still reeling from the impact of the pandemic.“We want COVID-19 to go away sooner than later, of course, but that scenario doesn’t seem likely to happen,” the Camarines Sur lawmaker said in a statement.

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TAGS: coronavirus pandemic, coronavirus Philippines, COVID-19, GCQ, Guillermo Eleazar, Metro Manila quarantine
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