MANILA – Joint Task Force COVID Shield (JTF CV Shield) commander Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar on Sunday appealed for understanding as some “freedoms” will still be restricted to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) under more relaxed general community quarantine (GCQ).
“As President (Rodrigo) Duterte repeatedly said, our lives will never be normal again unless the Covid-19 vaccine is discovered and be made available to the public. While the Filipinos and the people around the world are waiting for that vaccine, we appeal for understanding if we still have to restrict some of the freedoms that our people enjoyed before,” Eleazar said.
Eleazar said the JTF CV Shield will implement set of rules on the people movement to make sure quarantine protocols against Covid-19 will still be followed during the GCQ.
“Lagi po nating tatandaan na ang GCQ ay inaprubahan para po sa ating ekonomiya, hindi po para tayo ay mag-lakwatsa (Let me remind you that GCQ was approved to reopen our economy and not for you to roam around),” Eleazar said.
Duterte earlier approved the downgrading of Metro Manila, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Central Visayas, Zamboanga City, Davao City, Cebu City and Mandaue City from modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) to more relaxed GCQ from June 1 to 15. The rest of the country will be under modified GCQ (MGCQ).
Eleazar said rules on movement of people were prepared under the guidance of Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año.
He said health safety protocols must still be observed to prevent the spread of the dreaded Covid-19 which has already infected 17,224 people and killed 950 in the country.
He said indispensable travels related to medical and family emergencies do not require travel authority (TA) from the JTF CV Shield if the travel is within the province. Travels involving two provinces still require travel authority, he added.
The requirements for the travel authority issuance certification from the Punong Barangay that the person who wants to travel has not developed any Covid-19 symptoms at least 14 days before the travel request, and medical clearance certificate from the city or municipal health office.
For more information about the issuance of travel authority, Eleazar said the public can contact the JTF COVID Shield via these hotlines: 0998-849-0013 for Smart users and 0917-538-2495 for Globe users, and PNP Helpline 16677 and can also be reached through its email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Eleazar said help desks will be set up in every police station to assist locally stranded individuals (LSIs) who wish to go back to their hometowns.
He added that those who have no travel authority will be barred from passing the police and solider-manned quarantine control points (QCPs).
Workers and other people listed as Authorized Person Outside Residence (APOR) do not need travel authority. Their company identification cards and other proof of employment such as certificate of employment, or, identification cards issued by concerned government agencies are enough to pass the QCPs.
“Our Chief PNP has instructed the policemen manning the checkpoints to exercise maximum tolerance so we appeal to the people to respect them at least by obeying the quarantine rules,” Eleazar said.
Eleazar reminded the public that that the lifting of community quarantine restrictions was approved purposely to partially reopen the economy.
He warned that violators will still be immediately apprehended and charged, saying mobile checkpoints will be conducted by the Philippine National Police Highway Patrol Group.
“The threat of coronavirus is still there so this is really a challenge. On our part, based on the guidance of President Duterte, we will make sure that necessary measures will be implemented to protect those who would be allowed to go out,” he said. (PNA)