PNP urged: Rethink ban on non-APORS from fetching essential personnel

PNP urged: Rethink ban on non-APORS from fetching essential personnel
Members of the Quezon City Police District set up a checkpoint at the boundary of Quezon City and Marikina on Tuesday midnight, Aug. 3, 2021, to inspect passing motorists in preparation for the re-implementation of enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila.
The STAR / Miguel de Guzman

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Human Rights has called on the Philippine National Police to rethink its ban on unauthorized persons outside of residence from driving APORs to and from their workplaces during the two-week enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila which begins on Friday. 

Police Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, PNP chief, announced the policy earlier Wednesday, saying the "hatid-sundo" scheme is prone to abuse by non-APORs looking to go out despite strict stay-at-home orders. 

"We know this will affect other people, but worse abuse might be caused if we don’t control this. Anyway, public transportation will continue to operate," Eleazar said during an interview with DZMM Teleradyo. 

But CHR spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia in a statement said the ban jeopardizes the ability of APORs, including medical frontliners and those working in essential establishments, "to carry out their crucial roles in combatting the pandemic."

"It also exposes them to [a] higher risk of infection as there is no guarantee that there are enough public utility vehicles available during ECQ."

The harm caused by impeding frontliners ability to perform their duties, De Guia said, is "far worse" than the harm or abuse that the PNP seeks to prevent by implementing the ban in the first place. 

CHR: There are other ways to address alleged abuse of 'hatid-sundo' scheme 

"We call on the PNP to review this measure and put into consideration the welfare of our APORs," De Guia said.

"The issue of alleged abuse of this ‘hatid-sundo’ scheme raised by the authorities can be addressed by requiring documentary proof that the passengers and driver of the vehicle are indeed APORs or authorised persons to fetch APORs."

Officers manning checkpoints around the borders of the capital region already sift through each and every motorist to check if they are APORs. 

Once ECQ kicks in on Friday, the quarantine control points bordering the NCR Plus bubble will also be set up within Metro Manila, Interior Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said Monday. 

"Instead of causing additional burden, the government must recogni[z]e the invaluable contributions of frontline health and service workers and seek ways on how to support them in fulfilling their duties," De Guia said. 

— with a report from Franco Luna 

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