There has been confusion over the imposed general community quarantine (GCQ) in the country’s capital and surrounding areas. Reports vary as to the implementation and purpose of checkpoints, which the Philippine National Police (PNP) wants to address.
The PNP clarifies that travelers within NCR Plus are not subject to screening
The National Capital Region, together with Bulacan, Rizal, Cavite, and Laguna, has been placed under the ‘NCR Plus’ bubble to curb the rise of new COVID-19 cases. Reacting to reports that people traveling within these areas are being screened at checkpoints, PNP officer-in-charge Police Lieutenant General Guillermo Eleazar declared that this should not be the case.
“Within the bubble, hindi na natin ire-restrict ang travel ng ating mga kababayan. ‘Yan na rin po ay tulong natin sa paglago muli ng ating ekonomiya,” he said.
(Within the bubble, we will not be restricting travel of our fellow citizens. This is also our way of helping the economy bounce back.)
Checkpoints within NCR Plus are only intended to enforce curfew hours
Eleazar explains that the screening only applies to travelers going across the boundaries of NCR Plus. An employee going to work in Makati from Antipolo, for instance, can move freely within the two cities as they are under the same bubble.
Meanwhile, travelers who will cross to and from the designated bubble are subject to screening. Only those who meet certain exemptions will be allowed to pass through, such as essential workers, frontline personnel, and persons scheduled to travel abroad.
Under prevailing GCQ restrictions in NCR Plus, indoor dining is not allowed
While strategic areas inside NCR Plus do have checkpoints, Department of Interior and Local Government spokesperson Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya clarifies that these are only for enforcing the unified 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew hours. While daytime travel through these spot checks is permitted, the public is still strongly advised to avoid non-essential trips and errands.
With NCR Plus placed under GCQ, businesses in these areas are still operational, albeit with tighter restrictions designed to control mobility.
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Joseph Paolo Estabillo