PNP vows stricter implementation of lockdown amid rise in road traffic

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 17 2020 05:31 AM

Members of the Philippine National Police-Highway Patrol Group stop vehicles in the middle of EDSA as they come down from the Ortigas flyover on Wednesday. The PNP-HPG was clamping down on quarantine violators who were crossing municipalities in Metro Manila without the proper pass or authorization. Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Thursday vowed to strictly implement the coronavirus lockdown following a reported increase in the number of private vehicles traveling in Metro Manila.

Speaking to ANC, PNP deputy chief for operations Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said they noticed that more cars started returning after the Holy Week and during the distribution of government's emergency subsidy to families affected by the crisis.

"Ibang tao, akala nila ay puwede na maglabasan. That's why we notice a lot of vehicles sa kalsada," he said.

PNP chief Lt. Gen. Archie Gamboa has ordered his subordinates to strictly enforce the enhanced community quarantine imposed in Luzon to curtail the spread of COVID-19, Eleazar said.

The Highway Patrol Group (HPG) has also been directed to set up checkpoints in major thoroughfares and check occupants of private vehicles if they are authorized to travel, he added.

Only allowed to travel during the lockdown are those in the medical services, security services, financial services, utilities and other involved in essential services.

As one member per household is allowed to travel to avail of essential needs, this has become prone to abuse because some use it as a license to go to other cities, Eleazar said.

The police official said HPG is coordinating with the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and Land Transportation Office (LTO) to issue tickets and confiscate the licenses of quarantine violators.

Since the start of the lockdown, some 119,000 quarantine violators have been accosted, Eleazar said. Majority were given warning while some 2,900 remain in detention.

"Sa mga pasaway nating mga kababayan, mag-isip kayo, kasi kapag kayo ay mahuli talagang sakripisyo. Mahirap ang mangyayari sa inyo," he said.

Eleazar also said they had a meeting with city mayors, who were thinking of other means of limiting the movement of people.

Among the suggestions that came up were allowing residents to go out on certain days and having market on wheels.

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