Quarantine 'generally' followed but 'many' still 'pasaway' — DILG
The government is promoting the use of bicycles as an alternative means of transportation once the modified enhanced community quarantine is lifted and Metro Manila transitions into the “new normal.”
Michael Varcas

Quarantine 'generally' followed but 'many' still 'pasaway' — DILG

Ian Nicolas Cigaral (Philstar.com) - June 26, 2020 - 3:10pm

MANILA, Philippines — Filipinos have “generally” followed quarantine protocols, save for some “pasaway” (hard-headed) who flouted with movement restrictions enforced to defeat the prevailing pandemic, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) said.

“We can conclude that government’s quarantine policies are generally working, people are generally adhering to the prohibition on non-essential travel,” Interior Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said in a text message on Thursday night.

“But, as in any other society, there are still many pasaway in our midst so government cannot let its guard down,” he added.

Malaya was responding to findings by tech giants Google LLC and Apple Inc. that showed that not only did Filipinos stayed at home when quarantine dictated, most were still keeping indoors even as lockdowns against the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) were eased starting June 1.

The findings, which used location data from smartphone owners to determine movements, hit straight against the Duterte administration’s prevailing narrative that when cases of the disease rise in a vicinity, people lacking discipline and going out are to blame.

But for Malaya, culled cellphone data only “reflects trends and does not capture the entire picture.” Some people “without Apple accounts or are not Google users” may have also been left out of the data, making the results “limited” in scope. 

In 2018, Pew Research Center, a think tank, reported that 55% of FIlipino adults owned a smartphone, while 22% owned at least a mobile phone. Cellphone penetration is so high in the Philippines that the government itself has mulled using phones to digitally transfer cash aid, for instance.

In 2019, Filipinos were also found to have spent the most time online globally, averaging 10 hours 2 minutes a day, according to We are Social and Hootsuite, social media companies.

“The fact that some of our countrymen continue to violate community quarantine regulations despite government and private advisories or warnings can be seen in many places in the country,” Malaya said.

Arrests made, but only to some

He then cited his own data. According to the police’s Joint Task Force COVID Shield, 205,761 individuals were apprehended from March 17 to June 24 nationwide for violating quarantine measures. Of this number, 132,190 people were from Luzon, while the balance came from Visayas and Mindanao.

DILG has supervisory powers over the police.

Not included in the tally were police officers and other people who joined Major General Debold Sinas, chief of the Metro Manila police force, in a mañanita at the height of quarantine in May. Administrative charges were filed against Sinas, but he has remained in office.

Senator Koko Pimentel also breached quarantine protocols in March when he accompanied his pregnant wife at the Makati Medical Center. The hospital was forced to quarantine some of its workers after Pimentel tested positive for COVID-19. A preliminary hearing on the case against Pimentel is still yet to be scheduled.

Some arrests connected to quarantine infringement were also questioned for lapses. For instance, 13 student protesters in Iligan City apprehended at a peaceful assembly last June 12 were allegedly not read their Miranda rights by the police which also inform them of their violations. 

“The public can be assured that the DILG and the PNP will be vigilant and will strictly implement quarantine regulations until we defeat COVID-19,” Malaya said.

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