PHILIPPINE National Police (PNP) Chief Camilo Cascolan said on Monday, September 21, 2020, that the police should not be blamed solely for the failure to observe physical distancing at the Manila Bay over the weekend.
“I would like to be frank. Hindi lang ho pulis ang may kasalanan dito, lahat po tayo hindi ho ba. Dapat matuto tayo. Sa amin pong kapulisan sinabi nga ho namin sa inyo we always follow the rule of law and when we follow the rule of law we have no choice, it's command responsibility and I emphasize command responsibility during my first speech,” he said in a press conference in Camp Crame.
“Kailangan matututo ang komunidad sa ginawa po namin. Siguro naman ho sasabihin niyo sa amin mali yata yun pero dapat isipin niyo saan din kayo nagkamali. Dapat hindi na-relieve ‘yung aming kapulisan kung ginawa namin ang tama hindi ho ba. Konsensiya niyo na yun kung guguluhin niyo kami at kami mare-relieve eh yun po ang magiging problema pero gawin po natin ang tama,” he added.
On Sunday, Cascolan ordered the relief of Ermita Police Station chief Ariel Caramoan for failing to control the huge crowd that gathered for the opening of the artificial white sand beach of Manila Bay.
Lieutenant General Guillermo Eleazar, Joint Task Force (JTF) Covid Shield commander, said their failure indicates the poor planning and regular monitoring of the situation in the area.
“Alam mo nung Sabado during the opening of that particular Manila Bay sands nakita naman natin na dumagsa na rin ‘yung tao hindi lang ganung karami and it was publicized. You know controversial ang area na yun and alam natin the following day Sunday talagang dudumugin ng tao yan and I talked with General Miranda and sinabihan din niya 'yung kanyang hepe,” he said.
“Ngayon kinabukasan talagang nakita natin talagang grabe ang violation. Tumakbo doon si General Miranda kasama ‘yung iba niyang mga tao at naayos nila. Ibig sabihin puwede naman pala ayusin so it could be prevented. So nagkulang ng initiative ang station commander to do that at na-resolba ito ng district director,” he added.
Meantime, Department of the Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año said he will discuss with Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu on who will be held liable for the said incident.
"I will discuss it first with Secretary Cimatu kung ano pa 'yung magiging course of action namin dito. We will also really check what went wrong. For now, mahirap kasing magsalita muna but somehow, 'yun muna ang actions na ginawa ko," he said in a television interview.
He said there was a lack of planning and preparation prior to the said event especially on the part of the police as well as the local government unit.
Año reminded the public that Metro Manila is still under general community quarantine and that health protocols should strictly be followed.
For his part, Manila Mayor Francisco Domagoso ordered the DENR to barricade the said area following the incident.
He also discouraged the public from visiting the area. (SunStar Philippines)