CALOOCAN CITY, April 5 (PIA) -- The Joint Task Force Corona Virus Shield (JTF CV Shield) has tapped the Highway Patrol Group (HPG) in securing cargoes travelling along major thoroughfares in Luzon where the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) is in place, as approved earlier by the Chief PNP General Archie Francisco Gamboa.
The JTF CV Shield is the enforcement arm of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID). It is composed of the Philippine National Police, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP).
Police Lt. Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar, JTF CV Shield commander, said the decision to deploy HPG personnel was done to further facilitate the unhampered and unimpeded movement of cargoes that deliver food and other basic needs amid the strict implementation of home quarantine rules.
Based on the JTF CV Shield plan, the PNP-HPG is tasked to set up Dedicated Control Points or DCPs on provincial boundaries and other strategic areas where cargo vehicles usually travel.
The DCPs could be set up in the existing Quarantine Control Points or QCPs. But once it is done, the QCPS will be immediately be converted to DCPs and will be manned and under the supervision of HPG personnel.
QCPs, it was recalled, are manned by policemen and soldiers and have been in charge on the inspection of both the private and cargo vehicles, as well as in ensuring that only Authorized Persons Outside Residence (APOR) are allowed to pass. QCPs are usually set up at the boundaries between municipalities or cities and manned by the local police.
"HPG units were also given the leeway to set up DCPs in areas which they deem strategic; it does not necessarily mean that the DCPs will only be set up on provincial boundaries," Eleazar said.
The establishment of the DCPs will aide all vehicles carrying cargoes (trucks, vans, pick-up and jeepneys) and are exempted from being flagged down or checked at the QCPs. The inspection of cargo vehicles will only be done at the DCPs, and only if necessary, he added
"The objective here is to ensure that deliveries of food and other basic goods are not subjected to unnecessary and redundant inspections which are the usual reason of the delay," he said.
"But what is important is this rule: Cargo vehicles will only be inspected at HPG-manned and HPG-supervised Dedicated Control Points, and inspection will only be done if necessary. These cargo vehicles must not be flagged down or inspected at the QCPs," he added.
Eleazar said the Chief PNP already instructed all leaders of the HPG teams that will man the DCPs to coordinate with the local commanders, especially with the provincial directors, to establish clear guidelines on the matter.
Coordination with the NCRPO was also ordered for all the cargo vehicles entering or passing Metro Manila.
"We understand that HPG units have limited personnel, that is why our Chief PNP said that the HPG team leaders can also request for augmentation from local police units in manning the Dedicated Control Points," he said.
Initially, PLt.Gen. Eleazar said the DCPs will only be set up in Luzon but he said this will be expanded in the Visayas and Mindanao as soon as possible.
In case of concerns and problems relating to the movement of cargoes, drivers and owners of cargo vehicles could call the HPG hotline: 0926-2255474.
"We activated this hotline specifically for the concerns and for any complaints of drivers and owners of cargo vehicles. We assure them that we will immediately address any of their concerns relating to cargo transport," he added. (PIA NCR)