(File photo)

MANILA – The Philippine National Police (PNP) has allowed the fetching of authorized persons outside of residence (APORs) by non-APORs during the two-week enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila.

"I coordinated with the NTF (National Task Force against Covid-19) and eventually with (Interior and Local Government) Secretary Eduardo Año. Binalanse na po natin ito at ina-allow na po ang mga worker APOR natin, mga trabahante sa mga permitted industries ang labas nila is work related, meaning papasok at uuwi na sila ay ihahatid kung talagang hindi sila puwedeng mag-drive na ihatid sila ng non-APOR driver (We sought to find a balance here and now, we are allowing our APORs, those working in permitted industries who are leaving their homes for work, meaning they can be taken and fetched by non-APOR drivers to and from their workplaces)," PNP chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said in an interview with CNN Philippines on Thursday.

Eleazar, however, said documents such as the APOR's employment certificate, a document indicating the name of the APOR's designated fetcher/driver, vehicle information, and contact number and a copy of the APOR employer's business permit must be presented at checkpoints.

Ang basis kasi natin dito nasa ECQ tayo na pinakamataas na quarantine restriction at nakasaad dyan na APOR lang ang pwede lumabas at ang non-APOR hindi lalabas. At lalo na nag-o-operate naman ang ating public transportation (Our basis for the earlier order is that we are on ECQ, the highest quarantine restriction in the country, and under that only APORs are allowed to go out, with non-APORs not allowed to go out. Besides our transportation system will be operating during the Aug. 6 to 20 ECQ)," Eleazar said.

Eleazar said they previously prohibited the practice over concerns that it can be prone to abuse by motorists.

"Nakita na natin nung mga naunang implementation ng ECQ and modified ECQ (MECQ), maraming nagpapalusot. Ano ba naman yung sabihin mo, 'ako ay susundo, ako ay galing sa pagsusundo'. So lahat ng mga ito puwedeng abusuhin kaya lang kinonsider natin na ayaw natin magsakripisyo itong napakaraming worker APOR natin na sumusunod dahil sa mga iilan nagpapalusot ng ating mga kababayan (We have seen that many are still trying to break the law during the previous implementation of ECQ and MECQ. Anybody can just say 'I will fetch somebody or I just dropped off somebody'. This practice can be abused but we just considered the plight of our APORs who are complying with rules in retaining it and we don't want them to sacrifice just because of our stubborn fellowmen)," he added.

On Wednesday, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) urged the PNP to reconsider the policy.

CHR spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia said while they fully understand the purpose of quarantine restrictions, health workers and employees of other essential industries should not be deprived of the right to a safe way of going to and from their workplaces.

Metro Manila will be placed under ECQ starting Friday until Aug. 20 in a bid to curb further spread of the coronavirus Delta variant.

Only APORs will be allowed to board public transportation which will remain operational at 50 percent capacity. (with Priam Nepomuceno/PNA)