The days when violators of enhanced community quarantine rules are only given warnings are over as the Philippine National Police (PNP) intensified its enforcement operations amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
“There will be no more warning for ECQ violators. Instead, arrest and inquest procedures will be applied to cases of violations of Republic Act 11469. We will implement the strict enhanced community quarantine,” PNP chief Gen. Archie Gamboa said in a virtual presser Tuesday, referring to the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.
The measure, which takes effect immediately, seeks to prove that authorities mean business in implementing quarantine rules.
“These violations of the law carry with it appropriate penalties and fines, but, what will be more burdensome for violators are the tedious judicial process and the implications of a derogatory record to their personal criminal profile,” he added.
Gamboa said the police would implement a strict ECQ in Metro Manila, Central Luzon, and in Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon (Calabarzon).
Based on PNP data, in Metro Manila, the largest number of violators is in the Southern Police District with 15,475 cases, followed by Northern Police District (NPD) with 7,407 cases.
Meanwhile, the Eastern Police District (EPD) and Quezon City Police District (QCPD) both have over 2,000 cases and Manila Police District (MPD) has over 1,000 cases.
He said the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) is on top of the situation and all additional troops would be under them, Gamboa said.
The PNP has earlier ordered the deployment of Special Action Force commandos to assist the local police units.
“I have also authorized the deployment of 12 teams of Special Action Force, totaling 116 personnel to strategic locations, initially within Metro Manila to augment local PNP Units in the intensified enforcement of ECQ starting today,” he added.
From March 17 to April 21, Gamboa said 98,986 quarantine violators were warned, 6,168 were fined, 31,363 were arrested in which 2,467 are still detained with 24,248 cases filed, totaling to 136,517 violators for the past 35 days of the enhanced community quarantine.
In the same period, 732 persons were also arrested for hoarding, profiteering, and manipulation of prices of basic goods, while 9,419 drivers of public utility vehicles drivers were apprehended as mass transport is suspended during the quarantine period.
He added that the PNP was also assigned to lead the contact tracing of people who are possibly suspect, probable and confirmed COVID-19 cases.
Gamboa urged the local government units (LGUs) to support the police in their task of contact tracing. (PNA)