MANILA- Quarantine passes issued in some cities and towns for the month-long lockdown in Luzon should be distributed free of charge, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said Monday.
Some villages require households within their jurisdictions to use quarantine passes when buying food and other supplies to limit and monitor the number of persons going out of their homes as the country seeks to arrest the spread of the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
“Huwag po magbigay ng passes for a fee or for any payment whatsoever in any form or kind…Hindi 'yan for a fee,” Nograles said in a televised press briefing.
“Walang bayad 'yang mga passes na 'yan. Huwag po natin abusuhin 'yan,” he added.
(Those passes are free. Let’s not abuse it.)
Barangay officials selling quarantine passes may face charges, Nograles warned.
Neither President Rodrigo Duterte nor the government inter-agency task force on COVID-19 gave barangay officials authority to issue quarantine passes.
Nograles however reminded local government units with villages distributing quarantine passes to coordinate their efforts with the Department of the Interior and Local Government for guidelines.
“Naglabas po ang DILG ng guidelines para sa quarantine passes, sila na rin po makikipag-coordinate sa mga barangay,” he said.
(The DILG released guidelines on quarantine passes. The agency would also coordinate with the villages.)
Luzon was placed under lockdown until April 12, which meant strict home confinement in all households, suspension of transportation lines, regulation of provision for food and essential health services, and heightened presence of uniformed personnel to enforce isolation procedures.
The move aims to arrest the spread of COVID-19.
President Duterte has also declared a state of public health emergency, and state of calamity in the country to allow the government to tap into emergency funds to manage the pandemic.
The Philippines recorded 73 new COVID-19 cases by mid-Sunday, bringing the total number to 380. Six more people died, bringing the total deaths to 25, while the number of patients who recovered increased to 17.