Early yesterday, however, a truckload of toilet paper bound for the Department of Budget and Management was barred from entering Metro Manila at the Balintawak checkpoint in Quezon City.
STAR/File
Cargo unhampered? Truckloads of toilet paper barred
Louella Desiderio, Richmond Mercurio (The Philippine Star) - March 18, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The proclamation of a Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine is supposed to guarantee the “unhampered” movement of cargo in and out of Metro Manila.

Early yesterday, however, a truckload of toilet paper bound for the Department of Budget and Management was barred from entering Metro Manila at the Balintawak checkpoint in Quezon City.

One truck had managed to proceed before the enhanced quarantine took effect. The truckers were told that seven more truckloads of toilet paper to replenish the supplies at supermarkets would also require clearance before entry.

This developed as the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said yesterday that the movement of cargo for food firms, pharmacies and other companies offering basic services will be unhampered during the enhanced community quarantine period in Luzon to ensure stable supply and prices.  

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said to avoid supply shortage, the government agreed to allow movement of cargo carrying food items, pharmacy products and other basic necessities.

He said he received reports that some firms encountered difficulties in the movement of their cargo yesterday as some trucks were not allowed to get through checkpoints. 

“Let’s just consider this as birth pains… But we can fix this in due time. Cargo should be allowed in to avoid shortage in supply,” Lopez said. 

“Since the policy is unhampered movement of cargo, the public should not worry that there would be shortage. Supply and prices would be stable because of allowed movement of cargoes,” he added. 

Meanwhile, the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) has lifted the requirement for cargo trucks to secure a cargo entry withdrawal permit (CEWP) as the government expanded the coverage of the community quarantine in Luzon.

The PPA issued yesterday a memorandum circular providing the guidelines for the implementation of the community quarantine at all ports.

Under the guidelines, the PPA suspended the issuance of CEWP, which it earlier required cargo trucks to secure and present at checkpoints manned by uniformed personnel of the Philippine National Police.?

The CEWP was required to serve as a pass or clearance for cargo trucks to enter or exit from the National Capital Region, and to proceed to and from the Manila port, following the previous Metro Manila community quarantine declaration.?

“Trucks carrying cargoes to and from the ports will no longer be required to secure CEWP from PPA or port terminal operators,” the memorandum, signed by PPA general manager Jay Santiago, read.?

Trucks carrying cargoes from one port to another within Luzon and do not require traversing a body or bodies of water would be allowed continuous access to and from the ports, the PPA said.?

It said carrying of empty containers for withdrawal or repositioning must also be ensured continuous entry to and from the ports and inland container yards.?However, trucks carrying cargoes that require traversing a body of water or from one island to another will be required to unload the cargoes in the next port of call and transfer these to another truck or vehicle.?

A different driver and two helpers provided by the trucking company or shipper may be tapped for the continuous voyage until the trucks and cargoes reach the final destination.

?In all cases, the PPA said all truck drivers and helpers must be subjected to strict health screening at the port before they would be allowed to enter or leave.?The PPA said any existing transport document such as bill of lading, waybills, delivery orders/receipts and container interchange report could be used as port entry or exit documents for inspection and verification by land, maritime and health security authorities.

The PPA said ports should remain open to cargo ships provided there will be no embarkation or disembarkation of crew, subject to the requirement of the Bureau of Quarantine or Department of Health.?

It said all passenger ships should not be allowed entry at the ports. ?The PPA said these guidelines would ensure the unhampered movement of cargoes within, to and from the entire Luzon as well as the movement of its crew or personnel of transiting cargoes in ports under its jurisdiction.

CARGO ENHANCED COMMUNITY QUARANTINE
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