ADDITIONAL police and barangay forces will be deployed in public markets to ensure that social distancing and wearing of face masks under the enhanced community quarantine are enforced, a police official said on Monday.
Lieutenant General Guillermo Eleazar, Philippine National Police (PNP) deputy chief for operations and Joint Task Force Covid Shield (JTF-CV Shield) commander, said PNP Chief Archie Gamboa has directed all police chiefs to implement measures that would limit the number of people at one time in public markets.
“On the part of Secretary of the Interior and Local Government Eduardo Año, he had already tasked barangay officials to assist in this effort to make sure that there would be no more violation of the Enhanced Quarantine guidelines on social distancing,” he said.
Eleazar made the statement amid reports and social media posts on non-observance of social distancing especially in public markets.
Among the photos circulating online showed crowded markets in Balintawak, which prompted Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte to temporarily halt retail operations in the following markets: Cloverleaf, North Diversion, Riverview I, Riverview II, Pilson’s, MC and Edsan Bagsakan.
Wholesale selling and drop-off operations in these markets are still allowed.
Eleazar said there should be limited entry and exit points manned by law enforcers including barangay force multipliers in the public markets.
He urged village watchmen to go around with megaphones and remind the people to observe proper physical distancing.
In Cagayan, policemen regularly walk around the public market with a portable sound system with pre-recorded message and announcements about social distancing and other quarantine rules.
At the Mega Q Mart in Quezon City, uniformed personnel of the Cubao Police Station have been roaming inside the market and constantly reminding marketgoers to observe social distancing to avoid contracting the novel coronavirus, which causes the respiratory infection called coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
“Limiting the number of people going inside the public market is a way of ensuring that social distancing is observed inside. The same concept is already being implemented in supermarkets and grocery stores,” Eleazar said.
The police official also assured continuous monitoring in other public areas and residential sites for the maintenance of peace and order and for the strict enforcement of the “stay at home” rules.
“The real purpose of the Enhanced Community Quarantine which we have been doing in almost one month now would be put to waste if we continue to allow people to violate home quarantine rules especially social distancing,” he added.
Eleazar also urged the public to immediately report to the JTF Covid Shield any quarantine protocol violations that they would observe in their barangays through the following hotlines: 0998-849-0013 for Smart users and 0917-538-2495 for Globe users. The JTF CoViD Shield can also be reached through its email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
He urged local government units to either innovate or follow the good practices being implemented by other local officials such as mobile palengke to avoid convergence of their constituents in the public markets. (Third Anne Peralta-Malonzo/SunStar Philippines)