– with Christian Oineza
A POLICE official on Tuesday warned that violence and looting will break out if local government officials block the movement of trucks transporting goods and other essential items amid the Luzon-wide lockdown that started March 17 and will end on April 12.
Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, PNP deputy chief for operations and commander of the PNP’s Joint Task Force Coronavirus Shield, said the PNP has been getting reports that some local government executives have been imposing unnecessary conditions on cargo delivery trucks passing through control points.
He added some policemen, on orders of local chief executives who have supervision over the local PNP, have not been allowing trucks to pass certain areas as part of local efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in their locality.
“Actually, we continue to see problems in the field. For example, some LGUs and barangays are imposing their own rules but these are being addressed (now),” he said.
Eleazar said that “because of the intention of some LGUs to strictly enforce (the lockdown rules), they are in a way violating the basic guidelines” issued by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to allow the unhampered movement of vehicles involved in the delivery of food and other essential goods to ensure supply while the enhanced lockdown is enforced.
Eleazar warned of potential violence and looting if delivery trucks are not allowed to pass through certain routes, even as he assured the public that the PNP has readied a contingency plan to prevent the scenario.
“How can we prevent looting and violence? We should have basic needs, food for our countrymen. If they experience hunger, that may happen if we do not allow these cargo trucks to pass,” he said.
“To you (local chief executives), you may not see any problem but how about in the other areas? You should not consider only the welfare of your city or province but also of the others to prevent violence and looting. Let us be united and allow the passage of these cargo trucks so the basic goods and services will reach our countrymen who are on quarantine,” Eleazar said.
Eleazar said the PNP is coordinating with the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to iron out the matter.
“We would like to assure (the public) that we are in control. There is just a little confusion as we continue to receive complaints that (delivery trucks) are being delayed or they are being blocked,” Eleazar said.
Eleazar said he cannot fault local government executives for being extra cautious in enforcing the quarantine rules in their localities but appealed to them to “let us consider the welfare of everyone.”
Meanwhile in Pasig City, three persons were arrested on Monday for violating the home quarantine rules. Arrested were Bernard Javier, 31, of Barangay Pineda; Samuel Calumpas, 19, of Kalawaan; and Jordan Eludo, 22, construction worker, of Pinagbuhatan.
All were arrested between 9 and 11 p.m. on Monday after police officers and barangay officials tried to tell them to follow the protocol and go home but the three ignored the warning and instead shouted at the authorities.
The Pasig City government’s mobile public market kicked off on Tuesday. It aims to cater to the needs of Pasigueños while the lockdown in Luzon is in effect.
In his Facebook page, Mayor Vico Sotto said the mobile “palengke” aims to answer the needs of residents who are unable to go to public markets, “so the market will go to them.” Five mobile markets will go around the city’s 30 barangays.
Sotto assured the public that the prices of meat, vegetables and other food necessities sold in the mobile markets are the same as those sold in regular markets.