MANILA – The Joint Task Force Corona Virus Shield (JTF CV Shield) on Tuesday reminded all police units to ensure that no barangay checkpoints would be set up along national highways and provincial roads across the country.
JTF CV Shield commander Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año issued this order amid complaints of varying rules and regulations on the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) being implemented by the local government units (LGUs) down to the barangay level.
The JTF CV Shield is the enforcement arm of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID). It is composed of the Philippine National Police, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine Coast Guard and the Bureau of Fire Protection.
“Our Chief PNP, General Archie Gamboa, has already directed all the police commanders to assist us in the implementation of the (Secretary of the Interior and Local Government’s) order,” he said in a press statement.
Eleazar said barangay checkpoints along national highways and provincial roads have resulted in the delay in the movement of basic commodities and also caused confusion among the people, particularly for Authorized Persons Outside Residence (APOR).
“Some of these barangay checkpoints are implementing their own rules which are clearly in defiance of the IATF guidelines. We in the JTF CV Shield have been receiving similar complaints from cargo owners and drivers and even from people who are supposed to be exempted from home quarantine but were being barred in barangay checkpoints. The President’s order is clear: the IATF guidelines should prevail in the ECQ rules,” he added.
Based on the DILG order, Eleazar said only PNP checkpoints are allowed along national highways and provincial roads and that only police personnel are allowed to inspect cargo trucks passing along the major thoroughfares.
He said barangay checkpoints are only allowed on interior roads provided that there is prior coordination with the local police station for their set up and that those barangay checkpoints will be supervised by the local police.
Eleazar explained that the supervision of the PNP on all barangay checkpoints is necessary to ensure that the barangay officials will not be given any chance to implement rules and regulations that are not aligned with the IATF guidelines, particularly on the APOR.
While the ECQ is only Luzon-wide, the order to dismantle barangay checkpoints along national highways and provincial roads also applies to areas in the Visayas and Mindanao as some local government units have also imposed their lockdowns amid the threats of Covid-19. (PNA)