Enforcers mull fines, community service sanctions for curfew, quarantine violators
Members of the Highway Patrol Group (HPG) and Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) conduct an operation against violators passengers and drivers not wearing face masks and face shield along Commonwealth avenue in Quezon City.
The STAR/Boy Santos

Enforcers mull fines, community service sanctions for curfew, quarantine violators

Franco Luna (Philstar.com) - September 2, 2020 - 12:42pm

MANILA, Philippines — The quarantine enforcement arm of the coronavirus task force is looking at fines and community service as possible sanctions for violators of curfew and quarantine protocols, its chief said Wednesday. 

With general community quarantine now extended until end-September in Metro Manila and other areas, more business establishments will be permitted to resume operations once more. The Joint Task Force COVID Shield said it would be going "all-out" in its enforcement of curfews regardless of quarantine designations, and will also be sending more cops to business districts. 

Newly-instated Police Gen. Camilo Cascolan, now the PNP chief, also wants to enhance the regular conduct of barangay patrol of policemen in order to ensure that the minimum health safety standard protocols are observed.

In a statement issued Wednesday morning, Police Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, commander of the task force said that "arrest and the filing of charges could be the last resort if the violators became unruly and disrespectful to law enforcers, or the violators are repeat offenders."

“Almost all of the barangays and Local Government Units (LGUs) have no detention facilities so the tendency is to turn over those who would be arrested to the local police. As part of the decongestion measures of police detention facilities, it is advisable that violators are punished by community service or payment of fine as sanctions,” said PLt. Gen. Eleazar.

“Warnings should not also be given to the violators because we have been enforcing them for more than five months now, everybody should know by now about the curfew and other quarantine rules being enforced by the government,” he added.

This was not the case at the onset of the enhanced community quarantine, when quarantine violators were documented being put in tight cages and made to stay in crowded detention facilities.

In July, for instance, personnel of the Quezon City Police District along with the Quezon City Department of Public Order and Safety staged a "One Time, Big Time" operation tightening enforcement of mandatory face mask-wearing protocols all over the city where over 1,000 violators were brought to the Amoranto Stadium and "processed for proper disposition."

RELATED: 'By the book': A look at quarantine incidents and police operational procedures

Data from the task force itself shows that some 26% of the over 360,000 quarantine violators accosted and penalized over the past 169 days of community quarantine were arrested—amounting to over 25,000 who were detained despite the pandemic.

In its latest statement, though, the joint task force acknowledged that "community service and imposing certain amounts as fine are logical punishments since detaining violators would only put them at risk of infection inside cramped detention facilities." He added that "the money that would be paid by the violators is an additional source of income" for the government's pandemic response efforts, although these would depend on the local governments concerned. 

According to Eleazar,  police commanders have since been instructed in a memorandum by police leadership to refrain from imposing physical punishments on the curfew violators.

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: April 3, 2021 - 6:11pm

Other regions and provinces in the Philippines considered moderate and low-risk areas will be placed under general community quarantine starting May 1. Bookmark this page for updates. (Main image by The STAR/Edd Gumban)

April 3, 2021 - 6:11pm

The Lipa City health office logs 69 new COVID-19 infections – the highest in April – raising the total to 2,359.

Among the new infections were four call center agents. The youngest among them was a 22-year-old male agent from Barangay 7, who had cough and fever and previously got exposed to a confirmed COVID-19 positive patient.

Also testing positive was a 23-year-old female agent and 28-year-old female agent, both from Barangay Marawoy. A 28-year-old woman from Barangay Sabang, who had colds and cough, also got infected by the virus.

The said patients are already quarantined while health authorities continue to conduct contact tracing for their close contacts. Lipa City now has 1897 recoveries, with 20 new recoveries reported Friday. This means 80.4% have recovered from COVID, higher than Batangas province’s 45.82% recovery rate. — The Filipino Connection/Marlon Luistro

March 27, 2021 - 4:11pm

The Department of Health reports an additional 9,595 cases of the coronavirus disease, bringing the national tally to 712,442. To date, there are 118,122 active cases.

481 individuals are reported to have recovered, pushing the total number of recoveries to  581,161. The DOH logs 10 new deaths, bringing the death toll to 13,159

March 27, 2021 - 10:54am

St. Luke's Medical Center is requiring a mandatory COVID-19 swab test for patients and their companions prior to admission.

"Due to the current surge of COVID-19 cases, St. Luke's Medical Center would require COVID-19 swab test for all patients and their companions prior to admission effective March 29, 2021," the statement reads.

March 26, 2021 - 4:05pm

The Department of Health records another record high 9,838 new coronavirus cases, pushing the national tally to 702,856.

  • Recoveries: 663 new; total at 580,689
  • Deaths: 54 new; toll at 13,149
  • Active cases: 109,018 or 15.5% of total
March 26, 2021 - 11:29am

The inter-agency task force for COVID-19 approves once a day religious gatherings from April 1 to 4 in time for Holy Week.

IATF spokesperson Harry Roque says such gatherings should be done at 10% maximum indoor seating capacity at all times. Mass gatherings or religious activities outside the church or the venue are still prohibited.

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