The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) reminds the public to stay at home or face fines or even arrest following reports of individuals caught sneaking pass checkpoints to go to the provinces for unessential purposes.
DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said: “If you violate the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) directives, you are breaking the law.”
Año said it is absurd how reports of people attempting to travel and leave their homes are still coming in despite the prevailing directives and sanctions on the violation of the provisions of the Bayanihan To Heal As One Act, and resolutions imposed by the Inter-agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) and the DILG.
“Inuulit ko po, maaari po kayong maparusahan kapag nahuli po kayong pumupuslit sa ating mga checkpoint to go out of town. Times are very hard, hindi po ito panahon ng pagbabakasyon kundi panahon ng pakikiisa sa paglaban sa COVID-19 sa pamamagitan ng pananatili sa bahay,” Año said.
“We are in a very unique and desperate situation in trying to flatten the curve of the COVID-19 infection in the country kaya po please stay where you are. If you are stopped at a checkpoint and you have no valid reason, you will be fined and even arrested and told to go back where you come from,” Año said.
The DILG Chief said reports from various DILG regional offices point to individuals deliberately leaving their homes to go out to the provinces.
According to DILG Region 1, there are residents of Metro Manila who are currently stranded outside of the borders of Pangasinan who are attempting to enter that province.
The same case also transpired in the boundaries of Quezon Province and Camarines Sur where people from Metro Manila are currently stranded at checkpoints because they are not Authorized Persons Outside of Residence (APOR). Reports of similar incidents were also accounted in different parts of the country such as Zamboanga City.
“Huwag na po tayong matigas ang ulo. Pataas po nang pataas ang bilang ng mga kaso ng COVID-19 sa bansa at lalo po itong tataas kung hindi po tayo makikiisa,” Año said.
Meanwhile, the DILG Chief directed the Philippine National Police (PNP) to be more vigilant in manning all checkpoints, following the recent statement of President Rodrigo Duterte on imposing much stricter ECQ measures to keep people from moving while ensuring that human rights are respected.
Gen. Guillermo Eleazar of the Joint Task Force Corona Virus Shield urges the police officers assigned on quarantine control points or checkpoints to issue Ordinance Violation Receipt (OVR) or citation tickets to erring drivers instead of just cautioning them or denying them passage.
“You may cite them for violation of RA 11469 or the Bayanihan To Heal As One Act and Presidential Proclamation 922: Declaring State of Public Health Emergency,” Eleazar said.
Año also encourages the public to be disciplined and abide by the orders of the national government as violators of anti-coronavirus measures, individuals may be sanctioned with criminal cases.
“Disiplina Muna po sana ang ating isabuhay lalo na sa panahong ito ng krisis. Kaya po natin ito basta sama-sama at may disiplina,” Año said.