PNP checkpoints to remain amid possible easing of restrictions
Police officers inspect passing two-wheel and four-wheel vehicles and issue tickets to non-Authorized Persons Outside Residence (APOR) motorists plying EDSA in Pasay City on Monday night, March 22, 2021.
The STAR/Miguel de Guzman

PNP checkpoints to remain amid possible easing of restrictions

(Philstar.com) - June 13, 2021 - 9:58am

MANILA, Philippines — With yet another easing of restrictions possibly on the way, the Philippine National Police said it intends to retain its border control checkpoints surrounding the so-called NCR+ bubble moving forward.

In a statement sent to reporters, Police Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said that the PNP will abide by the guidelines issued by the national government in the event of changes on border controls. 

This came after the OCTA Research Group underscored the importance of maintaining border controls in provinces or regions across the country amid a possible easing of quarantine restrictions in the National Capital Region and nearby provinces. 

“We guarantee that the PNP will maintain heightened measures on border control points," Eleazar said, pointing to the increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in other regions besides NCR. "We are trying to prevent the virus from spreading again even in areas that can be considered low-risk areas today."

The police chief said that cops manning checkpoints have been instructed to allow the unhampered passage of vehicles carrying essential goods or those on important or essential travel.

Random inspections of vehicles are also conducted at the checkpoints.

The NCR+ bubble remains under a strict general community quarantine until June 15. The government's coronavirus task force has yet to decide the next quarantine status. 

OCTA: Border control still important moving forward 

Earlier this week, President Rodrigo Duterte warned that the government may enforce stricter measures against those who violate health and safety protocols and quarantine restrictions designed to contain COVID-19.

In its latest report, OCTA identified eight areas of concern all located outside the NCR Plus bubble including Bacolod, Cagayan de Oro, Iloilo City, Dumaguete, Butuan, Tuguegarao, Cotabato City and Tacloban.

"We don’t have objections (to easing restrictions) at this time because we’re seeing a decrease in trend and NCR is at moderate risk," OCTA research fellow Guido David said earlier in an interview aired over “The Chiefs” on Cignal TV’s One News.

“We should still keep an eye out on our border controls. We should discuss what would be the acceptable border policies, especially for regions that are under high-risk classification.”

Over 9,000 officers of the national police were deployed to man more than 350 curfew checkpoints across Metro Manila earlier in March.

The hoisting of quarantine control points was followed by the arrests of thousands in and around Metro Manila. During the enhanced community quarantine, the PNP recorded a running average of 3,500 quarantine violators apprehended per day. 

Duterte has since ordered police to immediately arrest anyone not caught wearing a face mask. The PNP said it would abide with this directive. 

To date, health authorities have recorded 1.31 million coronavirus infections in the Philippines. Of which, 60,341 remain classified as active cases of the pathogen. 

Franco Luna with a report from The STAR/Janvic Mateo 

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