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Non-'APOR' driving an essential worker? You need these documents

Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines — Following backlash from the public and from government officials, the chief of the Philippine National Police has walked back a policy that fetching and driving essential workers by persons not allowed outside their homes during the two-week enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila is prohibited.

The policy was, according to the police, meant to keep people from "abusing" exceptions in quarantine restrictions.

“Pwede nang ihatid ng non-APOR (authorized persons outside of residence) ang lahat ng essential workers. (All essential workers can be ushered by non-APORs,)” PNP chief Guillermo Eleazar said Thursday in a tweet.

But there’s a catch — APORs who would want to be fetched and driven by non-APORs must obtain the business permit of their employer and a certificate of employment which contains their name and the name of their driver and vehicle details.

"The reason why we’re requiring these documents is because we will conduct random checks. We will hold the employer, the worker APOR and even the driver accountable if we find out that they have falsified these documents," Eleazar said in Filipino on CNN Philippines’ "The Source".

The government classifies the following as APORs:

  • Health and emergency frontline services personnel
  • Government officials and government frontline personnel
  • Duly-authorized humanitarian assistance actors
  • Persons traveling for medical or humanitarian reasons
  • Persons going to the airport for travel abroad
  • Anyone crossing zones for work or business permitted in the zone of destination, and going back home
  • Returning or repatriated OFWs and other overseas Filipinos returning to their places of residence
  • Other persons transported through the efforts of the national government upon observance of the necessary quarantine protocols and with the concurrence of the receiving local government units

Eleazar had reasoned that the practice of fetching and driving APORs by non-APORs is supposedly prone to abuse, as those who should be following the strict stay-at-home orders can use this excuse to get out of their residences.

"This is our way of having some control," he said. Quarantine protocols in the Philippines have been focused on restrictions and movement control. Curfews, checkpoints and arrests have been among the first measures implemented in previous lockdowns.

"We will prevent getting fooled or we will have someone to contact in case we want to check something," he said.

Checkpoints already up along boundaries

ECQ kicks in on Friday, which means quarantine control points, like those set up at borders of the greater Manila area, will pop up across Metro Manila.

But ahead of the full implementation, thoroughfares around the borders of Metro Manila were already congested after the PNP set up quarantine control points to implement its strict border control. Officers manning checkpoints sift through each and every motorist to check if they are APORs.

Commuter group The Passenger Forum pointed out earlier that many workers live farther from Metro Manila where housing is more affordable and will have to line up at the PNP's checkpoints before going to work. — Xave Gregorio

ENHANCED COMMUNITY QUARANTINE PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE
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