ROSALES, Pangasinan – A village councilman from San Carlos City and a driver from Antipolo City were arrested on Saturday morning for facilitating the illegal entry of persons from Metro Manila to Pangasinan.
In an interview, Pangasinan Police information officer, Maj. Arturo Melchor Jr. identified the suspects as Jayrald Gutierrez, 32, of Barangay Balococ, San Carlos City and Ernanie Rasalan, 38, a driver of a transport network vehicle service (TNVS) firm. They were apprehended at about 8:30 a.m.
“Personnel of (the) Rosales Police Station chance(d) upon the suspects’ vehicles during their patrolling. The suspects were transporting five unauthorized persons outside of residence (UPOR) in a van and another six UPOR in a Toyota Innova,” Melchor said.
Upon verification, the police found out that the passengers do not have the necessary documents for them to be allowed entry into the province as travel restrictions remain in place, he added.
Melchor said the suspects were seen entering the dike area of Barangay Palakipak in this town to avoid border checkpoints.
He said charges against the suspects are being readied for filing by the police.
In a separate interview, Rosales Police chief, Maj. Fernando Fernandez Jr. said the destination local government units (LGUs) of the passengers were contacted by the police.
“The LGUs of Tayug and Manaoag towns have signified to accept the passengers and to shoulder their medical requirements while we are still waiting for LGU San Carlos to respond,” Fernandez said.
He added that the passengers, some of whom are children, were still in the police station as of writing.
The provincial government earlier prohibited tourism and other inbound travel of non-authorized persons from areas under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) and modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) as part of measures to combat the spread of the Delta variant of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
In Executive Order 0081 issued on August 4, Governor Amado Espino III said the prohibition covers those coming from Gingoog City of Misamis Oriental, Iloilo province, Iloilo City, Cagayan de Oro City, and the NCR Plus bubble (National Capital Region, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal).
“All persons, except APORs (authorized persons outside of residence) traveling to Pangasinan, must secure their corresponding permits from the S-PASS Travel Management System at https://s-pass.ph, and present (a) negative RT-PCR (reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction test) or rapid antigen test at the border checkpoints, and when required by the LGU of destination,” Espino said.
Only tourists from areas under regular general community quarantine (GCQ) and modified GCQ (MGCQ) shall be allowed to travel to Pangasinan for leisure purposes, he added.
Melchor, meanwhile, reminded the public to register via S-PASS (Safe, Swift, and Smart Passage) for authorized travels if they wish to enter the province. (PNA)