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Bicol IATF orders LGUs to remove checkpoints

LEGAZPI CITY --- The Inter-agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF) in the Bicol region has ordered the immediate dismantling of existing checkpoint set up by local government units (LGU) across the region.

The Bicol IATF on Monday, May 25 issued Resolution No. 07 entitled “Prohibitions Against Unauthorized Checkpoints,”which ordered the dismantling of existing checkpoints established and manned by LGU personnel, including those created not in coordination with the members of the Joint Task Force COVID (JTFCV) Shield.

The resolution also reminded local officials that only the JTFCV Shield is authorized to establish general community quarantine checkpoints manned by its designated personnel.

Lawyer Anthony Nuyda, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) regional director and BIATF chair said that “while we laud the efforts of the LGUs in protecting their respective jurisdictions by limiting entry of some individuals, we deem it necessary to impose restrictions to avoid conflicting regulations which only cause confusion and difficulty among individuals and businesses.

The circular said that in the event of any conflict of rules or guidelines, “human dignity and the safety and needs of the individual shall prevail.”

The BIATF resolution was issued in response to mounting complaints from people considered as Authorized Persons Outside Residence (APOR) who were barred entry in LGU checkpoints unless they have travel clearances.

The BIATF has observed that despite the task force ruling that APOR are only required to present their identification cards (ID) to pass through checkpoints, LGU personnel manning border checkpoints refused to accept ID as the different local governments have their own travel requirements.

As this developed, in a move disregarding the IATF resolution, the Naga City government through its Incident Management Team on Wednesday, May 27, issued a statement that “Border Control Checkpoints will remain in operation until end of May,2020, with all border control guidelines still in effect, until further changes comes June, 2020. Interior and barangay checkpoints are ordered demobilized following the directive from the IATF. However, OPLAN SITA to ensure submission of APOR to prevailing quarantine guidelines in the city will still be in operation.”

In a similar move, the Iriga City government also issued a directive that all boarder control checkpoints in the city will remain operational contrary to the IATF order.

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