Yesterday, the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) together with the Philippine National Police-Highway Patrol Group (PNP-HPG), and the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) began to strictly implement the Authorized Persons Outside Their Residences (APOR) protocol.

This comes after netizens and the media started reporting an unusual increase in traffic along major roads last Monday, April 13. With it, the PNP-HPG has begun conducting stricter checkpoint inspections along major roads. Also, the PNP-HPG will confiscate the licenses of those traveling without a pass, or those out on the road for non-essential travel.

The entire island of Luzon is still on lockdown, and the government wants to further deter would-be quarantine violators from making non-essential travels by putting up mobile checkpoints. The new checkpoint system was launched by the Joint Task Force Corona Virus Shield (JTF CV) to arrest those who do not follow the authorized persons outside residence (APOR) rules as well as to flag social distancing violations in private vehicles.

According to JTF CV Shield Commander Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, he has ordered the PNP-HPG to conduct mobile checkpoints and Oplan Habol along EDSA and other major thoroughfares in NCR to check on private vehicles if there are any unauthorized individuals out on public roads. He added that these mobile checkpoints will be effective in enforcing the ECQ along EDSA where there are no quarantine control points.

“Maybe some of our fellow Filipinos are getting bored so they think of going on a road trip to take advantage of smooth traffic flow and they even gathered their friends and families’ members in their vehicles. We would like to emphasize that this is a clear violation of the home quarantine and social distancing rules,” said Eleazar.

The PNP-HPG wishes to remind everyone that only those deemed as APOR are allowed to pass through quarantine control points. Should the driver or passenger of any vehicle be found violating the APOR protocol, the PNP-HPG will issue the driver with an LTO violation receipt or MMDA Ordinance Violation Receipt (OVR) tickets for transporting unauthorized persons outside the residence.

Those found in violation of the ECQ are in for some hefty fines as well. According to ASec. Celine Pialogo, Spokesperson of the MMDA, two specific amounts have been set, and both are dependent on what has been violated. 

In line with "disobedience" towards the ECQ (simply, if you are out but are not the APOR), the PNP-HPG will issue you a ticket (by way of the Temporary Operators' Permit or TOP of the LTO), confiscate your license, and most likely hand you a fine of PHP 1,000.

As for the rules of Social Distancing based on the Bayanihan Act, the ticketing and fines will be handled by the MMDA. A large fine amounting to PHP 5,000 will be handed to those in violation. Just as a reminder, guidelines state that in observance of social distancing, occupants inside vehicles must be limited - only 4 individuals in a sedan, including the driver. No other details were given for, let's say, larger vehicles such as vans, but this is a good benchmark no less.

(There is no word yet on repeat violators and how they are to be handled, but trust that this article will be updated as more information comes in.)

“Let us all understand that the ECQ will only be effective in containing COVID-19 if we limit our movements. This is all being done for us and for our families to prevent the virus from spreading. We appeal to everyone to please cooperate and as much as possible stay home,” said Karlo Nograles, Cabinet Secretary.

To date, the JTF CV data showed that we already have a total of 114,972 quarantine violations across the country. Luzon accounts for the most with 69,669 logged violations. 

With the Enhanced Community Quarantine to last until April 30, both the IATF and the PNP-HPG urge everyone in Luzon to stay at home to flatten the curve and decrease the chances of the virus further spreading. To date, the Department of Health (DOH) stated that there are now 5,453 confirmed cases in the country along with 349 fatalities and 353 recoveries.