Eleazar: NCRPO prepared for scenario on first day of GCQ in Metro Manila

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 1) — The commander of Joint Task Force COVID Shield said they anticipated the surge in the number of vehicles and people out in the streets of Metro Manila, as it shifted into general community quarantine on Monday.

Speaking to CNN Philippines, PLGen Guillermo Eleazar said, "Gaya ng inaasahan natin, dumagsa at dumami ang ating mga kababayan at sasakyan dito sa Metro Manila. After 76 days binaba na from ECQ to MECQ, at ngayon GCQ... Napaghandaan po ito ng NCRPO (National Capital Region Police Office), at namonitor naman po natin for the past days and weeks at nakipag-ugnayan naman sila sa iba't-ibang establisyemento pati na rin sa ibang mga transportation facilities."

[Translation: As we anticipated, a lot of people and vehicles crowded Metro Manila. After 76 days, we transitioned from ECQ to MECQ, and now to GCQ... The NCRPO was able to prepare for this, and we monitored this for the past days and weeks, and they spoke to different establishments as well as transportation facilities.]

Eleazar said random checkpoints were in place to see whether motorists and passengers were following rules set by authorities. Any violations would mean penalties he said, but people who were authorized to be out of their homes would be allowed to pass through.

He did say, however, travel authority was still needed if a person needed to cross a border, and a medical clearance certificate issued by the LGU health office is needed to secure travel authority. A test was not needed to secure the medical clearance, but it should indicate that while under quarantine, a person should not have exhibited any symptoms.

He added the length of the validity of a travel pass depends on its purpose.

"Pwede po kasi nakalagay na may maghahatid, e siyempre babalik yun malamang kinabukasan, so lalagyan po natin ng date doon. Kalimitan po ay mga one-way travel, itong mga locally stranded individual. Pero kung indicated po yung merong ihahatid at babalik siya,. yun din po ay nilalagay natin sa travel authority," he said.

[Translation: It could say they would be bringing a person somewhere, and of course they will need to go back, so the date will be indicated. Mostly it is one-way travel, for locally stranded individuals. But if it says they would be taking a person somewhere and they would be coming back...we will indicate that in the travel authority.]

Thousands of workers required to report back to their workplaces braved the threat of COVID-19 as Metro Manila transitioned to a more relaxed general community quarantine on Monday.

Restrictions were eased in the country's capital region after nearly 80 days of strict stay-at-home measures — one of the longest COVID-19 lockdowns in the world — by reopening more nonessential businesses in the hopes of restarting the country's economy.

Workers struggled to commute to their offices even as public transportation was allowed to partially resume after months of closure. Commuters endured long lines and extended waiting time just to be able to get a ride.

Jeepneys — a main mode of transportation for many Filipinos due to its affordability and accessibility — remain off the roads. Public utility buses and UV Express vehicles are still not allowed in the first few weeks of transition to GCQ.

More LRT and MRT-3 train sets are running, but they are only using 10-percent to 12-percent of their regular capacity. From the 1,000 passengers it used to accommodate per trip, now only 100 passengers are allowed inside the coaches to ensure physical distancing measures are enforced. Temperature checks are conducted before passengers can enter the stations. PNR can only accommodate 35 percent of its normal capacity.

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