MANILA – A total of 71 motorists, who are not authorized to leave their homes amid the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Luzon, were issued citation tickets after being flagged down while plying the Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (Edsa) on Wednesday.
This after the Joint Task Force Corona Virus Shield (JTF CV Shield) set up mobile checkpoints in Edsa and other major thoroughfares of Metro Manila on Wednesday following reports of violation of home quarantine rules using private vehicles and violation of social distancing inside private cars.
Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, JTF CV Shield, said the mobile checkpoints inside Metro Manila are being manned and supervised by personnel of the Philippine National Police-Highway Patrol Group (PNP-HPG), who were tasked to check if private vehicle owners are complying with quarantine guidelines.
The HPG will issue a Land Transportation Office-Temporary Operator’s Permit (TOP) or Metropolitan Manila Development Authority-Ordinance Violation Receipt (OVR) tickets against motorists who are not allowed to go outside of their homes.
HPG director, Brig. Gen. Eliseo Cruz, said that in Edsa alone on Wednesday, 38 motorists were issued TOPs and OVRs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., while 33 were given violation tickets from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Cruz said many drivers were surprised by the conduct of the operation, which resulted in a long queue of private vehicles along Edsa.
Cargo vehicles and ambulances, however, were allowed to pass by through the inner lane.
The measure is in response to the reported increase in the number of private vehicles traveling in Metro Manila and to ensure that only essential and authorized persons outside residence are onboard.
“We would like to emphasize that this is a clear violation of the home quarantine and social distancing rules. Muli, ipinapaalala namin sa ating mga kababayan na huhulihin po namin kayo dahil ito po ay bawal (Again, we remind our kababayans that they will be apprehended because this is a violation) under the ECQ guidelines,” Eleazar said.
PNP spokesperson, Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac, said the drivers could be penalized with a fine ranging from PHP700 to PHP1,000.
“This is not a joke. What is difficult is when these violations pile up, it will be hard for the erring motorists,” Banac said in a radio interview.
President Rodrigo Duterte has placed the entire Luzon under an ECQ until April 30 in an effort to stop the spread of Covid-19 in the country.
Mass public transportation and most works 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. (PNA)