The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Sunday warned drivers of public utility vehicles (PUVs) to strictly follow the minimum public health standards or else face citation tickets.
This, as the PNP has received reports of blatant quarantine violations in passenger buses and jeepneys.
PNP chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said police forces, particularly from the Highway Patrol Group (HPG), have already been instructed to issue traffic violation tickets to the operators and drivers of PUVs especially in the National Capital Region and nearby provinces of Bulacan, Laguna, Rizal and Cavite.
Eleazar ordered Joint Task Force Covid Shield commander Lt. Gen. Israel Dickson to monitor the situation while also urging the cops to conduct random inspections and issue citation ticket if there is a violation.
“We encourage all our personnel or those who conduct checkpoint, whether it’s a random or a mobile checkpoint, if you don’t have the temporary operator’s permit from the Land Transportation Office, get an Official Violator’s Receipt (OVR) coming from the local government unit then issue citation tickets against violators. Not just a warning because violators will do the same all over again,” Eleazar said partly in Filipino in a radio interview on Sunday.
He said although PUV drivers will not be arrested for violating safety and health protocol, the issued citation tickets will tarnish their records at the LTO.
“Though it’s just a small case, it will be added in your record, so always follow the rules,” Eleazar said in Filipino.
PNP Directorate for Operations chief Maj. Gen. Alfredo Corpus earlier issued a memorandum directing the PNP personnel to issue TOP, OVR, and traffic citation tickets to violators.
“This pertains to the reports received by the Directorate (for Operations), which disclosed unabated incidents of overloading, violations of minimum public health standards, and violations of allowed passenger capacity as prescribed by the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases) and DoTr’s (Department of Transportation) guidelines committed by public utility buses and jeepneys, particularly in NCR Plus areas,” the memorandum read.
Eleazar said the PNP will be “very strict” in the implementation of the quarantine health protocols to contain the Covid-19 after quarantine classification in Metro Manila has been downgraded from the most restrictive enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) to modified ECQ.
“So our reminder to the operators and drivers of public vehicles, behave or else you will be apprehended,” Eleazar said in Filipino.
He said random checks will not only be conducted in Metro Manila but in four adjacent provinces to also ensure that no travel policy on non-authorized persons outside residence is still strictly implemented.
“So, we are appealing to the drivers to ensure that their passengers are complying with these rules,” he added.