GCQ day 1 : Generally peaceful - Gamboa

THE first day of the General Community Quarantine (GCQ) in Metro Manila and Modified General Community Quarantine in other parts of the country were generally peaceful and orderly, according to the Philippine National Police.

PNP chief General Archie Francisco F. Gamboa made the assessment citing field reports gathered by the PNP Command Center from Police Regional Offices which indicated a peaceful situation nationwide.

Except for reports of stranded commuters due to inadequate public transportation, no other significant reports of major untoward incidents were recorded during the first few hours of June 1, said Gen. Gamboa.

Gamboa had assured the high state of readiness of the PNP to extend maximum assistance to secure all workers who will report back to work in the succeeding days even as he reminded the public that checkpoints, curfew, travel restrictions, strict enforcement of physical distancing, and minimum health standards will remain enforced in all areas under GCQ and MGCQ.

NCRPO notes some concerns on 1st day of GCQ

The National Capital Region Police Office yesterday noted some public issues as it began strictly enforcing the GCQ in Metro Manila. 

Major General Debold M. Sinas strictly ordered his men to ensure that social distancing and wearing of face masks will be observed in shopping malls, airports, train stations and other commercial establishments in their jurisdiction as part of their effort to prevent a possible second wave of COVID-19 in the metropolis.

Sinas also reported to PNP chief Gamboa some concerns noted by field commanders so that they can be immediately addressed by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID).

This includes a complaint that when it comes to the issuance of Travel Authority or Pass, the IATF-MEID is requiring the applicants to submit a medical certificate signed by public health doctors or those assigned to City or Regional Epidemiology Surveillance Units or CESU/RESU.

Officials however said that public doctors and CESUs are complaining that this has become an additional burden on their part since they are attending to much important COVID-19 matters. Commanders said that there is a recommendation to allow private physicians to sign the medical certificates of the applicants in the absence of government doctors.

Another concern raised was the presence of many vendors reportedly allowed by the LRT Line 1 management to occupy the sidewalk just below the LRT Line 1 Baclaran station by paying fees. Vendors in the area also added up to the big number of  LRT 1 passengers and other people and making it hard for the police to enforce social distancing.

The NCRPO is seeking the removal of these sidewalk vendors in order to ease up traffic in the area and convert the place into another waiting area for LRT 1 passengers.

Long line of passenger buses at the Metro Railway Transit Station in Taft Avenue, Pasay City also triggered a traffic jam in the area, thus the NCRPO recommended that the buses should follow a queueing and schedule before they can be allowed to proceed to the MRT station to pick their passengers.

Early in the morning, LRT operation temporarily stopped in Taft Avenue due to reported technical problems. Only 20 passengers are being allowed to board each LRT coach.

On orders of Gen. Gamboa, the NRCPO and the PNP Logistics Support Service fielded their available trucks and other vehicles to help ferry stranded commuters in the metropolis.

“We are seeing to it that under the New Normal, the management and security officers of shopping malls, train stations, hotels and other commercial establishments will be fully complying with all government quarantine measures to prevent further spread of the deadly virus,” the NCRPO chief told the Journal Group.

Sinas has conducted a series of dialog with rail transit security managers and officers in Metro Manila to discuss their action plan to secure the public once the government lifts the ban on public transport.