MANILA – The Joint Task Force Corona Virus Shield (JTF CV Shield) on Sunday urged shippers and consignees to take advantage of the traffic-free and almost car-less major thoroughfares across Luzon by releasing their container vans to decongest all the ports especially in Metro Manila.
JFT JV Shield commander, Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said the 30-day enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) imposed to contain the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) is the most ideal time for shippers and consignees to bring their containers back to the warehouses.
“We have designated special lanes and we are also giving special consideration to cargo vehicles in order to ensure unnecessary and redundant inspections,” Eleazar said in a statement. “This is the right time for the shippers and consignees to move out their shipments from the ports and eventually lead to the decongestion of our ports.”
PNP chief, Gen. Archie Gamboa earlier approved the deployment of the PNP-Highway Patrol Group (HPG) personnel to secure cargo vehicles along major thoroughfares.
Under Gamboa’s directive, Eleazar said HPG personnel will set up Dedicated Control Points (DCPs) along major thoroughfares where cargo vehicles will be inspected in the remaining ECQ implementation.
“With the present traffic situation especially in Metro Manila, we in the JTF CV Shield believe that this should serve as an encouragement for the haulers, owners and consignees to transport the shipments out of the ports,” Eleazar said.
In coordination with the Department of Transportation and Philippine Ports Authority, Eleazar assured unhampered movement of cargo trucks coming out of the ports, citing the existing protocol crafted by the Inter Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) in handling cargo vehicles.
“The inspection of these cargo vehicles will only be done at the Dedicated Control Points, and if only necessary,” said Eleazar.
Eleazar said the ports decongestion would bring back the normal operations particularly at the Manila International Container Terminal and the Manila South Harbor once the ECQ is lifted on April 12.
The JTF CV Shield is the enforcement arm of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases. It is composed of the PNP, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine Coast Guard and the Bureau of Fire Protection.
In 2014, congestion in Metro Manila ports became a huge problem that resulted in the PHP2.5 billion daily loss to the economy, according to the House of Transportation Committee. (PNA)