NBI to probe ‘COVID human smuggling’

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    JUSTICE Secretary Menardo Guevarra yesterday said he will order the National Bureau of Investigation to probe the complaint of Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade that trucking firms and colorum vehicles illegally transport people into the NCR Plus bubble areas or “COVID-19 smuggling.”

    “I’ll direct the NBI to look into these alleged incidents of ‘human smuggling’ and conduct a full-blown investigation if there is any indication that the practice is widespread,” Guevarra told reporters in a text message after he was sought for comment on Tugade’s complaint.

    The NBI is the main investigating unit under the DOJ.

    Tugade earlier said that he has received information that trucks and vans smuggle people untested for the COVID-19 virus into the borders of Metro Manila in exchange for cash.

    He said that once they arrive at the border, another set of vans will pick up the smuggled people and transport them to their final destinations.

    Tugade said this could result to more transmission of the deadly virus as the people being smuggled did not go through COVID testing.

    The government has extended the enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila and the nearby provinces of Bulacan, Laguna, Rizal and Cavite until April 11 to try and curb the frightening spike in COVID-19 cases.