Stranded commuters given window hours to return home

Philippine National Police (PNP) Deputy for Operations, Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar on Tuesday said stranded commuters were given window hours to return home as the police began strict implementation of the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon, including Metro Manila.

“We allow them to pass but we advised the public to go home because this Enhanced Community Quarantine will be strictly enforced,” Eleazar said in a press briefing.

Hundreds of commuters found themselves stranded in various parts of Metro Manila particularly near the border of nearby provinces due to lack of transportation to ferry them to their places of work and back to their homes.

The operation of the public transportation was suspended as part of the stringent measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

Eleazar said though the PNP provided window hours during the first day of the quarantine, he advised the public to go on home quarantine.

He said only health workers and people with exemption will be allowed to move around Metro Manila and Luzon provided they show identifications and necessary documents.

“Our personnel will have a way of knowing this,” Eleazar said.

Eleazar also assured that the government will provide transportation for health workers and those exempted from the strict implementation of the quarantine.

PNP spokesperson, Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac, said the PNP personnel manning quarantine control points in strategic locations will allow vehicles ferrying media personnel, technical and production staff, within community quarantine areas pending issuance of the special media pass by the Presidential Communications Operations Office within the next 72 hours.

“For the meantime, media personnel and workers will just be checked for their company IDs and media credentials in quarantine control points subject to biohazard safety protocols imposed by DOH (Department of Health),” Banac said in a statement.

“Entry into community quarantine areas will be prohibited to media members beyond midnight of March 20, 2020 without PCOO special media pass,” he added.

Improvised medical gear

Meanwhile, National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief, Maj. Gen. Debold Sinas, said the Metro Manila policemen are using improvised protective gear to protect themselves from the virus.

Sinas said there is not enough protective equipment for all the policemen manning the checkpoints in the NCR.

"I have ordered additional gears for their complete protection. All NCRPO personnel manning the checkpoint have to bring their respective ponchos (raincoats) to protect them both from virus and in case there is rain while they are on (duty). I also instructed all commanders to provide our deployed personnel with thermal scanner,” he said.

Sinas said the NCRPO has its quarantine facility in its headquarters at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig.

He said all uniformed personnel aged 50 years old and above, particularly those with existing medical conditions and pregnant, are exempted from field duties.

Source: Philippines News Agency