MANILA – Motorists who are not authorized to leave their homes amid the imposition of enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Luzon will face sanctions, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) said on Wednesday.
Following the reported rise in road traffic and quarantine violators in some parts of Metro Manila, the Philippine National Police (PNP) will be enforcing stricter guidelines for motorists, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said in a virtual press briefing aired on state-run PTV-4.
Nograles said the PNP’s Highway Patrol Group (PNP-HPG) will now inspect private vehicles to determine whether or not the driver and passengers belong to the list of Authorized Persons Outside of Residence (APOR).
He added that the PNP-HPG will also issue a Land Transportation Office-Temporary Operator’s Permit or Metropolitan Manila Development Authority-Ordinance Violation Receipt tickets against motorists who are not allowed to go outside of their homes.
“This is all being done for us and our families in order to prevent the virus from spreading. We appeal to everyone to please cooperate and, as much as possible, stay home,” Nograles, spokesperson of IATF-EIF, said.
President Rodrigo Duterte has placed the entire Luzon placed under an ECQ until April 30 in an effort to stop the spread of Covid-19 in the country.
Mass public transportation and most work have been suspended amid the implementation of ECQ in Luzon.
Individuals who are allowed to leave their homes are health workers, soldiers, policemen, media workers, authorized government personnel, and those rendering essential services.
Nograles, however, lamented that there are still many violators despite the government’s appeal to observe the strict home quarantine.
As of April 13, around 108,088 individuals have violated the quarantine protocols imposed by the government, Nograles noted.
“Napapansin po ni Pangulong Duterte at mga miyembro ng IATF na medyo nagiging kampante ang ating kababayan pagdating sa ECQ (President Duterte and IATF members noticed that our fellow countrymen are too complacent despite the ECQ implementation),” he said.
Possible ‘total lockdown’ in other villages
Amid reports of supposed ECQ violations, Nograles said the IATF-EID is studying the proposal to impose a “total lockdown” in other villages in Luzon with highest number of violators.
“That’s one of the recommendations that obviously, we are putting in the list of recommendation na pinag-aaralan. Pero kung ano yung magiging hakbang ng IATF, again pinag-uusapan iyan (The IATF is still discussing it), then we will come up with a decision,” Nograles said.
Quizzed about the possible another extension of ECQ in Luzon, Nograles said the IATF-EID is still “getting more data” before making a decision.
Nograles said all recommendations are being taken into consideration.
“Slowly, we are coming out with a game plan on what will happen after April 30. Now, hindi pa iyan tapos kasi patuloy pa nating pinaguusapan iyan (Now, we are not yet done with our discussions),” he said.
Repercussions of ECQ violators’ actions
Despite the ECQ implementation, public markets in some areas in Luzon have reportedly been packed with cars and people.
Nograles said local government units (LGUs) can pass their own ordinances, executive orders, or local laws that will seek the imposition of stiffer penalties against quarantine violators.
“They (LGUs) can pass ordinances, they can pass executive orders, they can pass their own local laws kung gusto nilang mas mabigat, mas mahigpit, mas matinding parusa (if they want heftier penalties), or whatever means necessary para madisiplina ang kanilang mga constituent (to discipline their constituents),” he said.
Nograles said ECQ violators should realize that their actions affect not only the Philippines but the entire world as well.
“This is not just the Philippines. This is the entire world so we cannot go that way. We cannot afford it. The world cannot afford it,” he said. “Sa mga pasaway, ito ang panahon na ito na dapat mong isipin ang repercussions ng actions mo na nakakaapekto ng ibang tao sa mundo (For troublemakers, think of the repercussions of your actions that affects people worldwide).”
The Philippines now has 5,223 Covid-19 infections, with 335 deaths and 295 recoveries. Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos /PNA – northboundasia.com