MANILA, Philippines — Police chiefs of localities at the borders of the four provinces around Metro Manila have been ordered to deploy personnel to guard entry and exit points, national police leadership disclosed Tuesday.
In a statement sent to reporters, Police Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, PNP OIC, said that all entry and exit points, especially small access roads, should be guarded to restrict movement in and out of what the government's coronavirus calls the "NCR Plus" bubble.
Only authorized persons outside residences, or APORs, including essential workers and those who deliver essential goods, are allowed to come in and go out "for as long as they present identification cards and other documents that could prove that their travel is essential."
"We have already mobilized the necessary police forces to restrict the movement of the people coming in and going out of the NCR+ Bubble and at the same time, in the conduct of community enforcement of the quarantine measures inside the bubble,” said Eleazar.
“I have already directed the chiefs of police of these areas to coordinate with their respective local government units down to the barangay level, to set up border control points in these access roads,” he added.
At the Laging Handa briefing from the day before, though, Eleazar was careful to point out that checkpoints hoisted within the bubble are "not there to restrict movement" but to monitor compliance with health protocols.
Eleazar clarified in his statement Tuesday that no quarantine control points should be set up within the bubble, especially the entry and exit points of Metro Manila, except if they are in support of the QCPs that were set up at the boundaries of Bulacan, Laguna, Cavite and Rizal to ease traffic jams that may be created.
The Joint Task Force COVID Shield, the implementing arm of the government's coronavirus task force, also said that quarantine control points have already been set up at major thoroughfares at:
- the boundaries of Bulacan and Nueva Ecija
- the boundaries of Rizal and Quezon province
- the boundaries of Laguna, Batangas and Quezon provinces,
- and the boundaries of Cavite and Batangas.
“This bubble concept is new to us so adjustments and corrections are being made to improve its implementation,” Eleazar also said.
“Checkpoints within the bubble are still necessary particularly during curfew hours. Beyond curfew period, they can observe, caution or accost those flagrantly violating health protocols but will no longer check motorists for movement restriction. Checkpoints are critical and important police interventions in case of dragnet operations if ever there are emergencies and hot pursuit operations."
All this comes as over 10,000 cops have already been deployed around the capital region to enforce curfew hours and quarantine protocols.
During the first full week of uniform curfew in Metro Manila, the PNP accosted more than 19,000 quarantine violators—5,300 of whom were arrested.
Health officials recorded 8,019 additional COVID-19 infections earlier Monday afternoon, bringing the national caseload to 671,792.
The number set a record high in daily coronavirus additions in the country, which has been on lockdown for 371 days—the longest quarantine in the world.
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