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PNP: Quarantine checkpoints to stay
Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar made the statement after the OCTA Research Group underscored the importance of maintaining border controls even if the government decides to ease quarantine restrictions in Metro Manila and nearby provinces.
Michael Varcas/File

PNP: Quarantine checkpoints to stay

Neil Jayson Servallos (The Philippine Star) - June 14, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Regional and provincial checkpoints will remain to strictly monitor people crossing borders, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said yesterday as the government prepares for a possible easing of quarantine restrictions this week.

Eleazar made the statement after the OCTA Research Group underscored the importance of maintaining border controls even if the government decides to ease quarantine restrictions in Metro Manila and nearby provinces.

Eleazar said while the PNP is strictly implementing COVID-19 protocols at quarantine checkpoints, the police would abide by whatever changes the government would issue on border control guidelines.

“Right now, police officers continue to guard quarantine control points, especially in other regions where surges in COVID-19 cases were recorded,” Eleazar said. “We want to avoid the spread of the virus even in places considered as low-risk areas.”

Earlier, the OCTA Research Group said it does not object to easing quarantine restrictions, but maintaining border controls should be a priority, especially for regions classified as high-risk for COVID-19.

The group has identified Bacolod, Cagayan de Oro, Iloilo City, Dumaguete, Butuan, Tuguegarao, Cotabato City and Tacloban as some of the areas of concern due to rising cases of COVID-19.

When the government imposed a second enhanced community quarantine last March in the National Capital Region and the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal or NCR Plus, the PNP set up over 1,000 checkpoints.

The PNP has yet to disclose how many checkpoints remain as the country gradually eased restrictions over the past three months.

The PNP public information office said the police organization “maintains border control points to ensure that non-essential travels are not allowed from areas under strict quarantine classifications.”

Eleazar said police manning checkpoints have been ordered to allow the unrestricted passage of vehicles carrying basic goods or passengers whose cross-border travel is essential. Random inspections of vehicles are also being conducted.

Meanwhile, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Chairman Benhur Abalos said the national government is planning to reopen more businesses.

Abalos said whatever the resolution of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases would be on the quarantine status, the “economy is set to reopen further.”

“But a 100-percent reopening of the economy is still not possible,” he said.

The NCR Plus remains under general community quarantine (GCQ) with restrictions until tomorrow.

Abalos said the Metro Manila Council, composed of the 17 Metro Manila mayors, would be deciding on their recommendation of the next quarantine status when the GCQ lapses tomorrow. – Ralph Edwin Villanueva

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