THE Philippine National Police (PNP) is crafting action plans for the implementation of the general community quarantine (GCQ) to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in areas where the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) will end by April 30 as well as for the strengthening of police operations in areas where ECQ is extended until May.
PNP chief Archie Gamboa assigned Lieutenant General Cesar Hawthorne Binag, PNP Chief of the Directorial Staff, to head a study group that will create a new memorandum circular that will strategize police operations and administration in response to the extension of ECQ in Metro Manila, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, and selected provinces and cities.
He said the study group will also map-out PNP courses of action for the areas under the GCQ which will be the “new normal.”
Despite the lifting of ECQ in some areas, the government will impose limit on public transport systems and opening of business establishments as well as the continuous observation of physical distancing and wearing of face masks especially on public places.
“In the succeeding days onward the extension of ECQ until May 15th, we can expect better and seamless cohesion among operations of PNP frontline and back-end support units toward the accomplishment of the mission given by the national government,” said Gamboa.
“We cannot afford to fail because many lives are at stake. I expect everyone to cooperate and support each other in this massive undertaking,” he added.
Joint Task Force Covid Shield commander and PNP deputy chief for operations Lieutenant General Guillermo Eleazar warned the public of the implementation of zero tolerance on ECQ violators especially on unauthorized persons outside residence, those who do not observe social distancing and do not wear face mask.
Eleazar said the intensified ECQ implementation has been reinforced with deployment of more policemen and soldiers on the streets.
He added violators will immediately be arrested and charged.
As of April 25, the PNP has arrested a total of 147,751 ECQ violators in Luzon, Vizayas and Mindanao.
Of which, 36,403 were detained, 103,781 were warned and 7,567 were fined.
From March 17 to April 23, of the 144,452 persons apprehended for ECQ violation, only 34,172 or 23.7 percent were arrested while the other were either fined or warned.
From April 24 to 25, in the implementation of intensified ECQ, of the 3,299 persons accosted, 2,231 or 67.6 percent were arrested while all the others were fined.
“The increase on the number of violators arrested can be attributed to our zero tolerance policy, meaning, not a single violator was warned on April 24. They were either arrested or fined,” said Eleazar.
“As such, this serves as a warning to all that your JTF Covid Shield, your policemen and your soldiers, are no longer warning violators. They arrested all the violators and they will continue to do so,” he added.
Eleazar, however, clarified that the number of violators recorded since the implementation of the ECQ were on a downtrend.
The highest number of violators reported was on the first day of the ECQ implementation on March 17 at 8,205 while 1,113 were arrested on April 25. (SunStar Philippines)