Being stopped in checkpoints is normal for workers going to work, and going home after work, in establishments allowed to operate during the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ), Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ), General Community Quarantine (GCQ) and Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ). Here are three things that workers need to remember in dealing with checkpoints (explain these items in a respectful and composed manner).
ESTABLISHMENTS ALLOWED TO OPERATE
There are establishments and businesses allowed to operate during ECQ. More establishments are allowed to operate in areas under MECQ. The only sticking point is the level of operational capacity for each establishment — whether full capacity, 50% capacity, or skeleton workforce. The issue on the level of capacity, however, is not the concern of enforcers manning the checkpoints. The full list of establishments allowed to operate in each community quarantine area, as of 22 May 2020, is contained in the Revised Omnibus Guidelines, incorporating the amendments under IATF Resolution No. 38. Refer to the full consolidated text of the Revised Omnibus Guidelines, or the list of industries allowed to operate per area:
COMPANY ID IS ENOUGH
The provisions are quoted verbatim (emphasis supplied), and the appropriate Section numbers are cited, to drive home the point that the company-issued ID is enough authority for travel to and from work, without any other passes needed. The pertinent portion of Section 7 (“Guidelines for Interzonal Movement”) of the Revised Omnibus Guidelines reads:
- 2. The movement as such of the following within and across areas placed under any form of community quarantine shall be permitted: (1) health and emergency frontline services personnel, (2) government officials and government frontline personnel, (3) duly-authorized humanitarian assistance actors (HAAs), (4) persons traveling for medical or humanitarian reasons, (4) persons going to the airport for travel abroad, (5) returning or repatriated OFWs and other Overseas Filipinos (OFs) returning to their places of residence, (6) other persons transported through the efforts of the national government upon conduct of the necessary quarantine protocols and with the concurrence of the receiving LGUs, and (7) anyone crossing zones for work permitted in the zone of destination, and going back home.
On the other hand, Section 3 (13) of the Revised Omnibus Guidelines states that:
- 13. Law enforcement agencies shall recognize any of the following IDs: (i) IATF IDs issued by the regulatory agencies with jurisdiction over permitted establishments or persons, (ii) bona fide IDs issued by establishments exempted from the strict home quarantine requirement, or (iii) RapidPass IDs. No other IDs or passes specifically exempting persons from community quarantine shall be required of workers of permitted establishments and/or offices without prejudice to requiring the presentation of other documents establishing the nature of their work.
Travel must be work-related. These provisions, read together, mean that permitted travel consists in going to work, and going home from work. The use of the conjunction “or” means that ANY of the three IDs is sufficient authorization to travel. The next sentence — “no other IDs or passes specifically exempting persons from community quarantine shall be required” — is technically a surplusage, but its inclusion in the paragraph is meant to reinforce the point that a company-issued ID is enough and no other pass is required.
THE IATF IS THE HIGHEST POLICY-MAKING BODY
In this time of national public health emergency, the IATF is the highest policy-making body in the Philippines when it comes to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic. The actions of all agencies and instrumentalities of the government, including Local Government Units (LGUs), must be consistent with the policies provided by the IATF. Still, to reiterate, do the explaining in a respectful manner.