Sorry folks, you can’t visit friends living in other cities even during GCQ, says Eleazar

Photo: Department of Transport/FB
Photo: Department of Transport/FB

Planning to visit loved ones living in other areas once Metro Manila is placed under the general community quarantine (GCQ)? Cancel that trip because the leader of the Philippine National Police’s anti-coronavirus task force said that you’re not allowed to do that.

Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said in an exclusive interview today with ABS-CBN’s Teleradyo that only people traveling for work in approved industries are allowed to cross city boundaries. People can’t travel from one GCQ city to another just because they feel like it.

Read: Quarantine passes no longer required during general community quarantine, says top cop

“Being downgraded to GCQ doesn’t mean that you can travel or visit your friends whom you haven’t seen in a long time. [Y]ou can only go out if you are workers and you can present your ID,” he said in English and Filipino.

“So traveling from one area to another [within Metro Manila] is not allowed. [But] for locally stranded individuals who want to go to another town or province or region, you need to get a travel authority,” he explained.

To get a travel authority, a stranded individual has to secure a medical certificate from a health officer in the village where he is currently staying. This document has to be given to a police station within the same village.

Cops in that station will then coordinate with their colleagues who are assigned to the traveler’s destination. They will, in turn, inform the local government unit about the individual who wishes to enter their city or town, he said.

“This is not a right but this is a privilege,” Eleazar said about getting a travel authority. “You have to follow the process and if there’s a waiting period [you have to bear with it]  because we need to coordinate [with officials].”

While stranded persons will have a hard time going back to their destinations, workers of businesses that have been allowed to open during the GCQ can easily travel from one area to another as long as they present their office IDs.

“You can go out if you are part of the workforce of permitted industries. Like what has been said, your ID is your proof that you are part of that workforce. You will be allowed to cross borders. But if you are just going to buy goods and services that are being offered or provided by permitted establishments, you have to stay in your area. That means you cannot cross boundaries,” he clarified.

Read: Metro Manila put under general community quarantine despite spike of COVID-19 cases

“If you live in Quezon City, just stay there. Same if you live in Makati. You can’t buy things from other areas. You will not be allowed to cross checkpoints of another town or area if you’re just planning to buy goods and services,” he said and added that if traveling, one vehicle is allowed to transport only up to four passengers.

“Please remember this. You cannot travel to other places, you cannot visit your friends. You can only go out to buy goods and services in your own area,” he explained.

President Rodrigo Duterte announced last night that Metro Manila and other areas will be placed under the GCQ starting from June 1, despite the continued spike of COVID-19 cases. Experts have advised the government that easing quarantines at this stage is premature, but Malacañang justified its decision by saying Filipinos need to work for a living. The administration admitted that they can no longer give handouts to the millions of Filipinos who have been displaced from their jobs due to the quarantine.

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