Locally stranded individuals (LSIs) may be exempted from travel restrictions owing to the stricter coronavirus lockdown in Metro Manila and nearby provinces.
Hatid Tulong Program lead convenor and Presidential Management Staff Assistant Secretary Joseph Encabo had requested this to speed up the processing of LSIs who have been waiting for trips that will take them to their home provinces.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said Tuesday the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases will tackle Encabo's request in its next meeting.
"If we do not process this in the next two weeks, our LSIs will have to wait even longer, making them more vulnerable and even psychologically disturbed,” the PMS official said during Tuesday’s
READ: MECQ halts public transport, restricts movements
Network Briefing News hosted by Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar.
Assuming the IATF grants his request, Encabo said they expect to send home 500 LSIs immediately.
If not, the stranded ones will have to wait out at the government's staging areas or temporary shelters, he said.
Meanwhile, the Philippine National Police (PNP) has ordered all police commanders and units to immediately put up checkpoints in barangays and main thoroughfares of the National Capital Region (NCR) and the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal which were reverted to a modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) beginning Tuesday.
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PNP Chief Gen. Archie Gamboa said during the 15-day MECQ, police front-liners will have stricter checkpoints to effectively contain the spread of COVID-19.
Under the MECQ guidelines, only one person will be authorized to go out to buy the basic needs of a household to avoid non-essential travel.
Quarantine passes will be mandatory for authorized persons outside residence (APOR) and must be presented at the checkpoints.
Gamboa urged the public to fully cooperate with the authorities for the sake of public health.
“We are asking for your full cooperation, to help save lives and to ease the burden of your health and police front-liners,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Commission on Elections' (Comelec) main office in the Palacio del Gobernador and other offices in Intramuros, Manila will be closed for two weeks for extensive disinfection and decontamination. With PNA
The Comelec added that its officers and employees will continue to perform their functions from their homes.
It also said the issuance of local and overseas voters’ certificates by Election Records and Statistics Department (ERSD) and Office for Overseas Voting (OFOV) in the main office are temporarily suspended.
The Department of Justice will be staffed by a rotating skeletal workforce after the President placed Metro Manila and nearby provinces under an MECQ.
Oher employees of the DOJ main office will be working from home.
"Prosecution service in the affected areas will continue via teleconferencing and other electronic means. Filing of complaints, affidavits, and other papers may be done online," Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said in a text message to reporters.
Meanwhile, the National Bureau of Investigation has suspended the processing of clearances in all areas under MECQ.
The NBI's satellite offices in Metro Manila, Bulacan, Rizal, Cavite, and Laguna are closed from Aug. 4 to 18, the NBI said.
Also on Tuesday, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) announced that it is temporarily suspending its online appointment system for foreign clients at the agency's main office in Intramuros, Manila due to the reimposition of the MECQ.
In a public advisory, BI Commissioner Jaime Morente advised clients with confirmed appointments from Aug. 3 to 18 to just reapply for new schedules to transact at the bureau after the MECQ is lifted.
Morente said suspending the online scheme was necessary because the BI will revert to maintaining a skeletal workforce at its main office while MECQ is in effect.
The BI Chief said, however, that the online appointment system will remain open to foreigners who are scheduled to leave the Philippines during the MECQ period.
He said the system will continue to reserve slots for departing aliens who need to secure their Emigration Clearance Certificate (ECC), re-entry permit and update their extension fees.
Outbound foreigners should present their confirmed flight bookings or plane tickets before going to the bureau.
According to the advisory, the following transactions at the main office are suspended:
- Applications for conversion to or renewal of immigrant visa;
- Petition for recognition as Philippine citizens, including Republic Act 9225 or the dual citizenship law;
- Downgrading of visa status;
- Tourist visa extension;
- Special work permits (SWP) and provisional permit to work (PPW);
- Renewal of alien certificate of registration (ACR I-Cards); and,
- Implementation of applications for visa conversion or extension approved by the Bureau's Board of Commissioners (BOC).
The BI further advised departing aliens under tourist visa, who overstayed in the country for not more than six months, to just pay their visa extension fees at the airport. With PNA
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