Cargo truck drivers, crew can travel “unhampered”

Guidelines issued by Governor Joseph Cua on the implementation of the General Community Quarantine (GCQ) in the province of Catanduanes allows cargo truck drivers and helpers to travel around “unhampered” upon exiting from the port.

“All cargo trucks and their cargoes shall be thoroughly disinfected before leaving the port premises,” Executive Order No. 001 issued April 30, 3030 stated.

The EO was silent on the previous protocol whereby the cargo crew were subjected to health checks at the port and then quarantined at a government facility until their trip back to the mainland.

Certain business owners had opposed such a protocol, claiming that they lack drivers.

However, it provides that for a mandatory 14-day quarantine in a Department of Health-designated quarantine area to be imposed on all persons who were allowed to enter the province for work or other purposes allowed under the GCQ Omnibus Guidelines.

While non-essential entry and exit of people to and from the ECQ zone shall be prohibited, except health workers, government officials and frontline personnel, those traveling for medical or humanitarian reasons, persons transiting to the airport for travel abroad, workers in permitted establishments, persons providing essential goods and services and public utilities, essential skeletal workforce, repatriated OFWs and non-OFWs returning home, and other persons transported through the efforts of the national government “upon the conduct of the necessary quarantine protocols and in concurrence with the receiving LGUs” are exempted from the ban under the GCQ omnibus guidelines.

The same IATF rules allow land, air, or sea travel by uniformed personnel and government officials and employees for official business, with the corresponding travel authority.

The other pertinent guidelines in the Cua order include the following: public and private entities allowed to open under the GCQ to adopt minimum public health standards; the movement of all persons aged 21 to 59 limited to essential goods and services and for work; 50% onsite work and 50% work from home for business owners and a similar scheme for government offices; 50% capacity for all public transport, with pedicabs and tricycles limited to one (1) passenger only; senior citizens fit to work to carry a medical certificate from a government physician; observance of the “new normal” such as frequent and proper handwashing, wearing of face mask, disinfection, social distancing, and thermal scanning; logbooks and CCTV cameras in business establishments and government agencies to assist in contact tracing; and, hotline number 09499505039 for information regarding a suspected COVID-19 infection in the workplace.

Under the IATF guidelines, local government units and their health units have been enjoined not to issue orders contrary to or inconsistent with the guidelines, such as but not limited to, requiring asymptomatic drivers and crew of cargo or service delivery vehicles to undergo mandatory 14-day home quarantine.

The IATF also allows essential public and private construction projects to operate in GCQ areas following the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) guidelines, but as of press time no such issuance has been released.

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