PNP relents on ‘hatid-sundo’ rule on NON-APOR driving for APOR
FOLLOWING a public uproar over its serious implications on the mobility of health and economic frontliners, the government on Thursday eased its rules on the issue of transportation involving authorized persons outside of residence (APOR) by allowing them to be driven to and be picked up from their places of work by non-apors.
The slight changes—with two strict conditions for the eased policy —were announced by Philippine National Police chief General Guillermo Eleazar on the eve of the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila to quell the surging cases of Covid-19 due to the Delta Variant.
“After weighing all these things, a new guidance was given today that will allow NON-APOR to fetch our working APORS,” Eleazar said on Thursday, referring to the changes in the rules and the concerns raised by the public, including both the APORS and NON-APOR.
On Wednesday, the PNP chief said that APORS would not be allowed to be driven to their work places, and instead would have to drive the vehicle on their own, or take public transportation. The same rules apply when they have to go home. If they could not drive on their own, they have to take public transportation.
He said the rules were adopted and would be enforced under the ECQ, justifying it as part of the anti-pandemic efforts along with the banning of inter-city travel while Metro Manila is observing the strictest lockdown, which will run for two weeks.
The PNP chief said the imposition of the twin rules were among the reasons behind the government decision to allow public transportation to operate on a 50 percent capacity. The measures generated concern and criticism from the public, including from Sen. Panfilo Lacson and the Commission on Human Rights.
While APORS are now allowed to be driven to and fetched from their work places under the new guidance, Eleazar said, however, two conditions have been set and must be met, both by the APOR and the NON-APOR.
These conditions are for “certificate of employment (COE) of the worker-apor from the employer, indicating the name of the designated NON-APOR driver/fetcher of the worker-apor, the make and plate number of the vehicle to be used, and contact number of the employer” and a “copy of business permit of the employer.”
“These requirements are important in the conduct of random counter-checking by our policemen in order to ensure that the documents giving permits for our work force APORS to be dropped and picked up are legitimate,” Eleazar said.
The PNP chief defended the rule on hatid-sundo and its strict implementation, saying “it did not just appear out of thin air, or a whimsical decision of our policy-makers.”
It was, he said, “based on scenariobuilding when the quarantine rules are being crafted and was also corroborated by our police frontliners on the ground who experienced using this as an alibi to disregard and deliberately violate the rules on home quarantine and unnecessary crossborder travels,” he said.