^
No more warning before arrest under 'tighter' ECQ as PNP leads contact tracing

No more warning before arrest under 'tighter' ECQ as PNP leads contact tracing

Franco Luna (Philstar.com) - April 21, 2020 - 3:56pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police (PNP) will be handling all contact tracing efforts for probable and suspect cases of the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) from here on out, its chief said on Tuesday. 

In a press briefing Tuesday afternoon, Police Gen. Archie Gamboa, PNP chief, said that this was part of a tighter enforcement of the enhanced community quarantine on the part of the national police, particularly in Metro Manila, Region III and Calabarzon.

Gamboa said that the order was coursed through the DOH and DILG.

"We're being tasked to lead the contact tracing for positive, probable and suspected cases. We hope local government units and other people who can help support us in contact tracing," he said in Filipino. 

"We need to do this because we want to mitigate the increasing risk to frontline PNP personnel. We will not allow the continued increase in our law enforcers, who are the country's last line of defense," he added. 

Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) spokesperson Jonathan Malaya told Philstar.com, "The inter-agency task force [on COVID-19] directed the DILG and the LGUs to lead contract tracing. We in turn directed the PNP to assist the LGUs."

This came days after President Rodrigo Duterte last week asked the public to discipline themselves in observing social distancing and said that he would order the military and police to the military and police to strictly enforce the quarantine if its measures were still breached. 

READ: Duterte asks public for 'discipline' in following quarantine rules

Police and military personnel have been manning checkpoints since the middle of March, when the quarantines were first declared. 

The chief of the national police also bared that there were 74 confirmed cases of the new virus among PNP ranks, while 12 personnel have recovered.

No more warning

"In the name of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, and with the help of the staff of the Philippine National Police and the soldiers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, we will enforce starting now a strict enhanced community quarantine," Gamboa said. 

"There will be no more warning for violators," he added.

Gamboa reiterated his warnings on Sunday that cops would directly apprehend any violators of lockdown protocols should the chief executive's earlier pronouncement of a "Martial Law"-like community quarantine become a formal order.

"No let-up, we will start arresting...We will charge all of you until you can avail of a bail, and if all are still in process, we can always legally detain you," he said. 

READ: PNP: We'll go 'straight to arrests' in 'martial law-type' quarantine

However, PNP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac clarified to Philstar.com in a text message that this pronouncement was not connected to Duterte's earlier warning of "martial law-like" marching orders.  

"Those are guidelines taken up in IATF meetings. No further statements have been issued by President Duterte since the last time he spoke," he said in a mix of English and Filipino. 

Gamboa also disclosed that he authorized the deployment of 12 teams of special action forces, with 116 personnel, to strategic locations in Metro Manila.

"What I want the public to know is that PNP is a national employee... Anybody from the PNP can be deployed nationwide. But we're not heartless. If there is necessity on a case-to-case basis, it will be observed," he said. 

'No fault'

Police have been arresting violators of curfews and quarantine guidelines since March. By the month's end, more than 69,000 had been arrested or fined.

Safeguards against warrantless arrest are still in place amid a state of national emergency. 

RELATED: CHR: Human rights, writ of habeas corpus remain during state of national emergency, calamity PNP: 'No difference' in quarantine implementation if military takes over

In his address, Gamboa also defended the actions of the national police in the past week. 

Speaking about policemen who barged into the premises of a high-end condominium in Taguig City and threatened its residents to allegedly enforce quarantine rules, the chief of police said, "I stand firm on the decision of NCRPO that the police had no fault here."

"Appropriate cases are being prepared by the Police Regional Office 3," he said of the arrest of Anakpawis volunteers. 

The condo's management has said it would seek legal action against the police. 

READ: Management of Taguig condo to seek legal action vs cops who barged into compound

'Medical solutions needed'

Besides enforcing quarantine procedures, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III also told Philstar.com in early March that the national police could assist in contact tracing measures "if warranted."

Human rights and healthcare organizations alike have been saying that the Duterte administration's narrative of a nationwide war against COVID-19 perpetuates a misplaced militarism in a time when medical solutions are needed.

READ: 'War' narrative in COVID-19 crisis fails to empower Filipinos, groups say

Healthcare advocacy group Coalition for People's Right to Health co-convenor Josh San Pedro earlier told Philstar.com in an online exchange, "I think it may reflect the lack of manpower by the DOH to conduct contact tracing and quarantine."

San Pedro pointed to the lack of support for the country's healthcare system as a whole as the root of this. 

Sought for comment by Philstar.com, the DOH has not yet responded. 

NOVEL CORONAVIRUS PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE
As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: May 27, 2021 - 8:40pm

President Rodrigo Duterte signed the bill that grants him special powers to address the novel coronavirus outbreak in the Philippines. Bookmark this page for updates. 

May 27, 2021 - 8:40pm

A total of 1,415 golf workers in Metro Manila have received cash aid from the DOT and DOLE as part of the Bayanihan 2 act.

The golf caddies, golf workers and employees in five major golf clubs in the capital region received almost P7.075 million.

“For the beneficiaries of the cash assistance program with us today, I hope that this amount can help you and your families in this difficult time," Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat says.

May 10, 2021 - 2:14pm

Online applications for the P5,000 financial assistance under the COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program for the tourism sector will no longer be accepted starting 5 p.m. on May 10.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III says the department has "reached the target beneficiaries and is currently evaluating and processing payment of the remaining applications.

April 27, 2021 - 7:40pm

The Philippines is barring the entry of travelers from India or with travel history to India in the last 14 days from arrival, the Palace says.

The travel restriction takes effect on April 29 and will be in place until May 14.

April 9, 2021 - 12:07pm

The Department of Health assures the public that the P9 billion fundes under the Bayanihan I and II were used for the construction of temporary medical isolation and quarantine facilities, field hospitals, dormitories; and to expand government hospital capacities.

As of December, P4.36 billion from Bayanihan was utilized to buy medical equipment while P4.5 billion under Bayanihan II were used for the construction of medical facilities.

"The DOH assured that every centavo of the questioned funds, as well as all other public funds provided to the Department are all accounted for and are available for the public to access and examine upon request," the DOH says.

January 6, 2021 - 9:53am

President Rodrigo Duterte enacts Republic Act No. 11519 that extends the Bayanihan to Recover As One Act until June 30, 2021.

Bayanihan II will extend Duterte’s power to move funds within the existing P4.1-trillion outlay that was previously granted to him through Bayanihan to Heal as One.

Philstar
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

FORGOT PASSWORD?
SIGN IN
or sign in with