MANILA – The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) on Thursday discouraged the public from going to their neighboring areas for the purpose of visiting bigger supermarkets or pharmacies.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles advised the public not to be “picky” amid the implementation of enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Luzon.

In a virtual presser aired on state-owned PTV-4, Nograles said traveling to neighboring areas would only defeat the Luzon-wide ECQ’s intent to stop the further transmission of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) in the country.

“Paano ‘yung gustong mamili in a bigger supermarket, grocery, pharmacy in another city kasi mas maraming mabibili doon or doon lang available ang kailangang bilhin? Huwag na lang po (What will happen to those who want to go to a bigger supermarket, grocery, pharmacy in another city for the reason of having many options? Just don’t do it),” he said.

Nograles made the statement, a day after he announced that motorists who are not authorized to go out of their homes amid the imposition of ECQ in Luzon face stricter sanctions.

On Wednesday, Nograles said the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) Highway Patrol Group will issue a Land Transportation Office-Temporary Operator’s Permit or Metropolitan Manila Development Authority-Ordinance Violation Receipt tickets against unauthorized motorists who will be caught outside of their homes.

Nograles said the public must understand the situation the country is currently facing.

He stressed that the country cannot afford to be complacent, especially now that the Luzon-wide ECQ is set to lapse on April 30.

“Kung lahat ng sakripisyo natin mababalewala lang dahil maghahanap tayo ng paraan para makalabas (Our sacrifices will not bear fruit because we are making a way to go outside of our homes). It just destroys everything,” Nograles said.

Mass public transportation and most works are suspended during the ECQ period.

People are also mandated to observe strict home quarantine unless they are health workers, soldiers, policemen, media workers, authorized government personnel, and working in companies rendering basic services.

Police and military are likewise ordered to man checkpoints while the entire island of Luzon is under ECQ.

The government has also launched a RapidPass System, a virtual identification system that makes use of QR code technology, to decongest checkpoints amid the ECQ implementation.

Nograles said the RapidPass is now operational to ensure faster and contact-free passage at checkpoints.

“It’s all systems go,” he said. “Lahat ng ginagawa ng DICT (Department of Information and Communications Technology) at DOST (Department of Science and Technology) at ‘yung gumawa ng (All the actions made by DICT, DOST, and developer of) RapidPass has already been coordinated with the PNP. So, it shouldn’t be a problem.” (PNA)

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