MANILA – The Philippine National Police (PNP) is coming up with measures to hasten the flow of people and vehicles during the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon to contain the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
“We will just make the flow faster,” PNP chief Gen. Archie Francisco Gamboa said in a Palace press briefing Tuesday night.
Gamboa said one of the suggestions is that when those passing through a checkpoint from a region will be given “countersigns” for them “to pass to subsequent regions until they reach another region or destination.”
“There will be changes on the part of the PNP to adjust our guidance on our men on the field. This is on how we can prioritize our fellow Filipinos who must be given priority, for example, health professionals who are at the end of the line,” he added.
Gamboa said that the biggest change now in the checkpoints is ensuring the smooth passage of cargoes.
He reiterated that people on non-essential travel who insist to pass the checkpoints would be arrested.
He said the Department of Justice (DOJ) expounded the bases for arrest. These laws include disobedience under the Revised Penal Code and non-cooperation under Republic Act 11332 or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act.
Certificate of work and identification card will be inspected by the police and military, he added.
New guidelines will be issued based on the new resolution, Gamboa added.
“Even if you don’t have the appropriate protection, the PNP is doing its best to protect,” he pointed out.
Meanwhile, Gamboa acknowledged that the supply of protective gear and equipment remains to be a problem for policemen manning the checkpoints.
“The PNP is trying its best but the problem is procurement. We have the resources. Ang problema, walang supply [the problem is we don’t have supply],” he said.
Currently, PNP has received donations coming from different sectors.
Gamboa, meanwhile, commended sectors that heeded earlier calls to stay indoors and limit non-essential movement and travel.
“We reiterate our call to our countrymen in provinces and cities in Luzon to please cooperate with authorities in managing this national emergency. As WHO (World Health Organization) and DOH (Department of Health) experts have already concluded based on the experience of other countries that have successfully contained Covid-19, there is no other way but for everyone to stay home. This is one big sacrifice we must do as a nation to survive this crisis,” he stressed.
In a related development, PNP spokesperson, Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac said putting up of special lanes in checkpoints was already approved.
Currently, a lane for the agricultural products was installed in North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and South Luzon Expressway (SLEX).
“Sa ngayon, ang nahiwalay natin para sa delivery ng foods and cargoes. Yun po ang nakahiwalay ngayon. So medyo biblis na [Now, those delivering food and cargoes have been given a separate lane],” Banac said during Laging Handa public briefing, a 30-minute television-radio program aired at PTV4.
Banac said more lanes would be opened for essential personnel in the coming days.
Meanwhile, the National Capital Region Police (NCRPO) has put up special lanes for health workers on major roads.
However, it has yet to determine how to put up special lanes in secondary and small roads. (PNA)