Checkpoints, curfew part of 'new normal': Joint task force chief

By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan

May 28, 2020, 7:05 pm

MANILA – Checkpoints and curfew regulations will remain a part of the "new normal" situation with the easing of community quarantine restrictions and as the country awaits availability of a vaccine against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), a ranking police official said on Thursday.
In a press statement, Joint Task Force Corona Virus Shield (JTF CV Shield) commander, Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, said this is because the Covid-19 threat remains, despite easing of some community quarantine restrictions.

“Our President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has allowed the lifting of some restrictions in order to re-open the economy and to turn the situation into the most normal as possible because we cannot afford to have strict quarantine rules at the expense of our economy and our people,” Eleazar said.

He added that minimum health standards should still be implemented such as wearing face masks, observance of physical distancing, and prohibition of unnecessary travel.

Currently, quarantine control points (QCPs) are deployed in specific areas for private vehicles while dedicated control points (DCPs) inspect cargo and delivery trucks. Meanwhile, mobile checkpoints conduct random inspections of private motorists.

Currently, there are 4,398 QCPs and 115 DCPs across the country.

The QCPs are manned and supervised by the police and the military while the DCPs are manned and supervised by the PNP Highway Patrol Group (HPG).

Eleazar said that the HPG will be in charge of the conduct of mobile checkpoints in coordination with the local police force.

HPG director, Brig. Gen. Eliseo Cruz earlier said the mobile checkpoints will also be augmented by the deployment of motorcycle-riding personnel under "Oplan Habol" wherein motorists who would avoid the mobile checkpoints would be chased and checked for violation of quarantine rules.

“We cannot check all the vehicles because it will defeat the purpose of partially re-opening the economy. The solution here is to have mobile checkpoints,” he added.

The QCPs and the mobile checkpoints, Eleazar said, will be complemented with the frequent beat patrol in various communities, especially in urban areas, not only as part of the anti-crime measures but also for the implementation of curfew.

“The strict implementation of curfew is not only for the protection of our workers who go out for a nightshift or who go home during nighttime but it is also necessary to ensure that those who have no business going out should stay at home and make the most of the time bonding with their families instead of risking themselves to be infected by the (Covid-19),” he said.

Eleazar explained that the strict implementation of the community quarantine rules which include curfew has been found to be effective in preventing more infection and deaths as revealed by the study of experts from the University of the Philippines. (with reports from Priam Nepomuceno/PNA)