BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Benjamin Magalong has ordered the local police to be more vigilant against truckers and come up with schemes to address the smuggling of persons to the city.
In a press release on Saturday, the city Public Information Office said the Baguio City Police Office (BCPO) has confirmed reports of persons being smuggled into the city via vegetable or fruit cargo trucks.
Information office chief Aileen Refuerzo said authorities were able to arrest three persons inside a cargo truck during a random check at a checkpoint on Marcos Highway.
BCPO chief Col. Allen Rae Co said the three persons are residents of Irisan, Kias and San Luis villages who were sneaked in by a cargo truck (WKL 965) of H&E Fruits & Vegetables Trading.
Co said they received countless reports of people being sneaked into the city but could not conduct inspections because of orders restricting them from checking cargo trucks.
To confirm the report, Co ordered a spot check on one cargo truck where they discovered the three persons.
Co said the three are now undergoing investigation.
Co said that there are two kinds of checkpoints in place: the Quarantine Control Points (QCP) that is manned by the BCPO and the Dedicated Control Points (DCP) under the Highway Patrol Group (HPG).
The BCPO’s QCP is not allowed to check cargo trucks to avoid clogging up and it is only the DCP that does proper checking.
Co has coordinated with the Philippine National Police Regional Office-Cordillera and the HPG for the deployment of an HPG member to augment the BCPO QCPs so that full inspections of cargo trucks can be made.
On March 28, the city closed its borders to non-essential travels and stranded residents from other provinces except Benguet to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
The decision came after records bared that Covid confirmed cases reported in the city involved persons who have traveled to places with positive cases.
The ban exempts deliveries of food, medicines and other essential items, in compliance with the national interagency task force regulation to allow free flow and access for food and medicines.
Magalong has warned those wanting to sneak into the city that they will be dealt with accordingly. (PNA)