ALL existing rules and regulations pertaining to the movement of Authorized Persons Outside of Residence (APORs) and Unauthorized Persons Outside of Residence (UPORs) set by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases remain in effect and are being strictly enforced by the Joint Task Force COVID-19 despite the projected flattening of the curve of the killer virus, Lieutenant General Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar stressed Sunday.
The official also called on all Filipinos to maintain their vigilance and continue to comply with all government health protocols despite the projected flattening of the curve in the coming days and with still no vaccine available in the market.
He said that Filipinos and foreigners must still observe minimum health protocols like wearing of face masks and face shields in public and fully observe social distancing in order to speed ip the positive forecast made by medical experts that the COVID-19 curve will be flattened this September.
Lt. Gen. Eleazar maintained that the realization of the positive forecast lies in the cooperation of every Filipino in strictly observing the minimum health safety protocols being encouraged by the government, and being enforced by the JTF COVID Shield.
“Just because there is a positive forecast like this does not mean that we should be complacent already. How we achieve this projection still depends on us by being mindful of our safety, by respecting the government’s measures to protect public health,” he emphasized.
Eleazar said even medical experts have recognized the positive effects of the community quarantine measures approved by President Rodrigo Duterte which started with strict lockdown measures on March 17.
Had the government not resorted to strict community quarantine measures, Eleazar said the Philippines would have been included in the list of countries with millions of infected people like the United States and Brazil.
He cited the institution of some necessary adjustments on the ground in order to compel the people to behave and follow quarantine rules. Among them are the deployment of more soldiers and police commandos in areas with high infection rate and with monitored high violation of quarantine protocols, implementation of mobile checkpoints by the PNP Highway Patrol Group led by Brigadier Gen. Eliseo DC Cruz when Duterte eased the restrictions to gradually open the economy, and the wearing of face shields in public transport, places of convergence and workplaces as additional protective gear against the coronavirus.
“The battle is not yet over. For as long as a vaccine is not yet made available for mass immunization, we urge all our kababayan to continue maintaining vigilance and strictly observing the quarantine rules not only to protect themselves and their families but also as their contribution for the nation to heal as one,” said Eleazar.
To set the record straight on travel protocols, the JTF COVID Shield commander said the following rules remain:
For APORs: There is no need for a Travel Authority if the travel to any part of the country is work-related; APORs however, must show a valid identification card and/or any document proving that their travel is work-related in order to be allowed to pass at the Quarantine Control Points (QCPs), or border control checkpoints;
If the travel is by air or by sea, the APOR must secure a Medical Clearance Certificate that should be shown to the airport and seaport authorities, except if the sea travel is a short island-to-island travel in a province or a region and that the APOR has been doing the travel as part of his/her daily work routine; and lastly, the travel of APORs is always subject to the rules and regulations of the receiving Local Government Units or LGUs.
For Locally Stranded Persons (LSI) and Emergency Travelers: All LSIs and Emergency Travelers must secure a Travel Authority if the travel involves crossing the border of Metro Manila, a province, and a Highly-Urbanized City or HUC; and that the travel of LSIs and Emergency Travelers is subject to the rules and regulations of the receiving LGUs.
Eleazar said that in order to secure a Travel Authority, the following must be accomplished: A Medical Clearance Certificate from the City or Municipal Health Office; the Medical Clearance Certificate must be submitted to the City or Municipal Task Force on COVID-19 through the Local Police Help Desks; that coordination will be made by the City or Municipal task force with the receiving LGUs for the date of the travel; and that the City or Municipal Task Force on COVID-19, through the local police where the application for travel is submitted, will release the Travel Authority indicating the date of the travel and other pertinent details.
Eleazar earlier warned the public regarding a disinformation drive on social media which he said intends to completely mislead and confuse the public on the quarantine protocols.
The official said the disinformation is through a social card being circulated on social media which apparently attempts to make it appear that the National Task Force on COVID-19 has already lifted all travel restrictions now that most part of the country is already under Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ).
The social card used an old photo of Eleazar in an apparent effort to make it appear that the announcement written on it is an official proclamation from the JTF COVID Shield which is the implementing arm of the NTF on COVID-19.
Eleazar explained that the social card did not come from the JTF COVID Shield and was exactly the same social card that was circulated a few months ago.