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PNP continue guarding access areas in and out of NCR + BUBBLE

PHILIPPINE National Police (PNP) chief, General Debold M. Sinas has ordered police ground commanders in areas located at the boundary of Bulacan, Laguna, Cavite and Rizal leading to Metro Manila to continue strictly enforcing quarantine protocols and prevent the entry and exit of unauthorized persons in their jurisdiction amid the continuing spike in COVID-19 cases.

Mamang PulisAccording to PNP Deputy Chief for Administration and concurrent commander of the Administrative Support for Joint COVID-19 Task Force, Lieutenant Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar, all chiefs of police of towns and cities located at the boundary of the four provinces adjacent to the National Capital Region have already deployed personnel assigned to guard other entry and exit points of the NCRP Office+ Bubble created to contain the further spread of the killer germ.

Eleazar however clarified that no Quarantine Control Points (QCPs) should be set up within the NCR+ Bubble, especially the entry and exit points of Metro Manila, except if they are in support of the QCPs that were set up at the boundaries of Bulacan, Laguna, Cavite and Rizal to ease traffic jams that may be created.

“There should be less restrictions for people inside the bubble because they are considered as one big area. This is to ensure smooth access because workers of Metro Manila for instance live in these four adjacent provinces,” he said.

Eleazar emphasized that checkpoints within the bubble are needed in support of the 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. uniform curfew hours currently being implemented in Metro Manila, and in the conduct of pursuit operations against criminal elements.

“Checkpoints within the bubble are still necessary particularly during curfew hours. Beyond curfew period, they can observe, caution or accost those flagrantly violating health protocols but will no longer check motorists for movement restriction. Checkpoints are critical and important police interventions in case of dragnet operations if ever there are emergencies and hot pursuit operations,” he said.

Sinas has instructed all PNP officers and men manning and supervising the QCP to make sure that only Authorized Persons Outside Residence (APORs), including essential workers and those delivering essential goods, would be allowed to come inside and go out of the NCR+ Bubble.

Joint COVID-19 Task Force commander, Lt. Gen. Cesar Hawthorne R. Binag also instructed local police forces to ensure that minimum health safety standard protocols such as wearing of face masks and physical distancing are observed, especially those going inside the bubble.

Binag said the same QCPs were already set up at the major thoroughfares of the boundaries of Bulacan and Nueva Ecija, boundaries of Rizal and Quezon province, boundaries of Laguna, Batangas and Quezon provinces, and the boundaries of Cavite and Batangas.

Eleazar however, said that all the entry and exit points, especially small access roads, should also be guarded in order to achieve the real intent of the creation of the NCR+ Bubble.

“These access roads leading to and out of the NCR+ Bubble should also be watched. Our strict implementation to achieve the real intent of this bubble in the major thoroughfares will not be maximized if there are other access roads that would be unguarded,” he underscored.

“So I have already directed the chiefs of police of these areas to coordinate with their respective Local Government Units down to the barangay level, to set up border control points in these access roads,” he said.

Eleazar explained that the NCR+ Bubble concept is meant to strike a balance between the need to revive the economy and in containing the spread of COVID-19 amid the upsurge of new cases in the past days.

The official said they are implementing all the measures that are stipulated in the Resolution of the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) which was approved by President Rodrigo Duterte.

“Under the guidance of our Chief PNP, we have already mobilized the necessary police forces to restrict the movement of the people coming in and going out of the NCR+ Bubble and at the same time, in the conduct of community enforcement of the quarantine measures inside the bubble,” Eleazar said.

All the areas inside the bubble were placed under General Community Quarantine starting March 22 to April 4. “This bubble concept is new to us so adjustments and corrections are being made to improve its implementation,” Eleazar said.