Stricter COVID-19 checkpoints set as more vehicles seen on roads

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 15 2020 11:19 AM

A line forms at a checkpoint between Marikina City and Antipolo, Rizal on Holy Monday, April 6, 2020, amid the start of the lockdown of Rizal Province to curb the spread of COVID-19. The province tightened its checkpoint procedures and shut down its borders to travelers except for health workers, food industry workers, and other authorized personnel. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA- Stricter checkpoints will be observed beginning Wednesday, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said as more vehicles are seen plying main thoroughfares despite the ongoing lockdown in Luzon.

Upon President Rodrigo Duterte's orders, Nograles said policemen manning checkpoints will implement a stricter screening process to check if travelers are allowed out of their homes.

The tougher measures come after South Luzon Expressway saw an influx of vehicles headed for Metro Manila on Tuesday, and after the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority reported an increase in vehicles plying EDSA.

Nograles said the following measures will be implemented by Highway Patrol officers starting Wednesday:

1. Inspection of private vehicles to determine whether the driver and passengers belong to the list of authorized persons outside of residence or not.

2. If the driver or any of the passenger is unauthorized, authorities will issue tickets against drivers of private vehicles transporting persons who are unauthorized to be out of their homes.

The government only allows healthcare workers, frontliners, and other essential workers to go out of their homes. Each household meanwhile should only have a representative to buy food and basic needs.

"Sana po intindihin natin na magiging effective lang itong ECQ (enhanced community quarantine) sa pag-contain ng COVID-19 kung tayo ay hindi basta-basta na lang nakakaikot at nakakalabas," Nograles said in a virtual press briefing.

(I hope you can understand that this ECQ will only be effective in containing COVID-19 if we cannot simply roam around and go out of our homes.)

"This is all being done for us and our families in order to prevent the virus from spreading," he said.

As of Monday, the PNP said violators of the enhanced community quarantine guidelines have reached 108,088.

The public is urged to stay home for the duration of the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon, which was extended until April 30 from its scheduled end of April 12.