Task force created to deal border control during Metro Manila quarantine

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 14 2020 07:02 PM | Updated as of Mar 14 2020 07:21 PM

Hundreds of passengers try their luck to leave the city, 2 days before the community quarantine of Metro Manila, March 13, 2020. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - A joint task force of state forces will handle border management as Metro Manila is set to undergo a month-long community quarantine to contain the fast-spreading coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), a top police official said Saturday.

The task force is composed of the police, military, coast guard personnel and firefighters, said Police Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, deputy director for operations of the Philippine National Police (PNP).

"Kami ang mag-i-implement ng checkpoint operations and other enforcement efforts," he told reporters in a press conference, as authorities attempt to restrict movement in the Philippine capital region in a bid to contain COVID-19.

(We will implement the checkpoint operations and other enforcement efforts.)

Eleazar, who was chosen as task force commander, said they are expected to release specific guidelines on border checkpoints on Saturday, a day before the community quarantine kicks in.

As of this posting, authorities have yet to release a list of border checkpoints. 

"Maglalabas kami ng specific locations kung saan gagawa ng checkpoint in coordination with the local government units," he said.

(We will release the specific locations where the border checkpoints will be implemented in coordination with the local government units.)

State troops will also man checkpoints around Metro Manila to check on the movement of local residents as a precautionary measure against COVID-19, Eleazar added.

"Basically we want to restrict the non-essential entry and exit of people from and to Metro Manila," he said.

Due to growing concerns about local transmissions of the disease, the Philippine government will place Metro Manila under general community quarantine starting Sunday.

To date, the country has recorded a total of 98 cases of COVID-19, including 8 fatalities.

The virus, which originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan, has infected more than 132,000 and killed nearly 5,000 in 122 countries and territories, latest data from the World Health Organization (WHO) showed.