Commuters, motorists stuck in border checkpoints as cops enforce 'enhanced' quarantine

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 17 2020 03:26 AM | Updated as of Mar 17 2020 04:25 AM

MANILA (UPDATED) - Motorists and commuters on their way home near Metro Manila found themselves stuck in border checkpoints early Tuesday as the national government enforced a Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Roads at the border of San Mateo, Rizal and Marikina, as well as in Meycauayan and Valenzuela were blocked by police.

People stuck at the border of Marikina and San Mateo were left fuming as police officers barred them from passing through, even if their homes are just a walking distance away from the checkpoint. 

Brenda Dulalas, a commuter, appealed to authorities to let her pass through the checkpoint. She said her hungry children were waiting for her at home.

After two hours of being held at the checkpoint, several weary travelers were finally allowed to go back to their homes in San Mateo, Rizal.

However, only residents entering San Mateo were allowed to go home. Those coming from San Mateo entering Marikina were still barred from passing through the checkpoint. 

Marikina chief of police Col. Restituto Arcangel said the commuters and motorists were not allowed to enter Marikina because of the 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew. 

Policemen later allowed Marikina residents coming from Rizal to go home by 3 a.m.

They were asked to present IDs before being allowed to cross the checkpoint.

Meanwhile, police officials in the border of Valenzuela and Meycauayan said they are just following orders to enforce the enhanced community quarantine in the area. 

Valenzuela City Mayor Rex Gatchalian later arrived to personally appeal to the police to allow the stranded commuters and motorists to pass through the checkpoint and go home. 

By 1 a.m., several people were allowed entry but authorities later placed barricades on both lanes of MacArthur Highway in, Malanday. 

Gatchalian urged people to stay at home for their own safety. 

President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday ordered an enhanced community quarantine in Luzon.

The health department has reported 142 cases of COVID-19 in the country, with 12 fatalities and 3 recoveries.

Globally the disease has infected more than 160,000 people and claimed the lives of nearly 6,500. -Reports from Jervis Manahan and Lyza Aquino, ABS-CBN