PNP orders HPG to arrest PUV drivers still plying route despite suspension of public transport
The chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) on Tuesday said he ordered the Highway Patrol Group (HPG) to arrest Public Utility Vehicle (PUV) drivers who are still operating despite suspension of all modes of public transportation during the implementation of enhanced community quarantine.
In a TV interview, Police General Archie Francisco Gamboa said the vehicles of the apprehended drivers will be impounded.“I told the Highway Patrol, highly specific to arrest all (violators). If needed, impound (the vehicles) too… so that the people will just see really we will enforce the law,” Gamboa said.
However, Gamboa said the problem is where will be the impounding area for these vehicles.
The PNP chief added he will also ask the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to come up with an official order which will be the basis in filing a case against drivers, operators of PUVs.
“They already have calibration of offenses, the first time you do it, the second time there's suspension... so part of my input later, probably LTFRB would really come up with a clear order that all are suspended so that when there is an apprehension, it is not only the ticket of the Land Transportation Office they are going to get,” Gamboa said
.“They're also going to face administrative charges on the part of their franchise because (the order is) simple, do not operate,” he added.
The PNP-HPG flagged down taxi drivers who are caught operating along EDSA. It did not say how many taxis were flagged but TV reports showed some even traversed EDSA.
According to PNP spokesperson, Police Brigadier General Bernard Banac, the HPG only cautioned these taxi drivers and told them to go home.
“For now stern warning was given by lining them up in the street in the meantime that we are preparing plans where to impound them for disregarding the suspension of public transportation,” Banac told reporters in a text message.
“No arrest for now… they should go home now,” he added.
Banac said public transportation drivers will only be arrested if they show blatant disrespect or disobedience to the authorities such as speeding away when flagged down.
The Department of Transportation (DoTr) suspended all public transport services was implemented as part of measures after President Rodrigo Duterte placed the entire Luzon under enhanced community quarantine as the number of COVID-19 cases in the country increases.
According to the Department of Health, confirmed cases are now at 187 which included 12 fatalities. Ella Dionisio/DMS