Task force calls for ordinances against videoke, noisy activities

Franco Luna - Philstar.com
Task force calls for ordinances against videoke, noisy activities
Photo dated April 28 shows members of Philippine Army joining the distribution of relief goods from the Asian Development Bank in Batasan Hills in Quezon City.
The STAR / Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines — Local government have been urged to craft or modify existing ordinances against the use of videoke and "other noisy activities" as students undergo online learning in their homes, the quarantine enforcement arm of the government's coronavirus task force said Tuesday. 

Including possible prohibitions to regulate the use of videoke machines while students attend online classes, according to the Joint Task Force COVID Shield, would "protect every home in the barangay from loud noises and unnecessary distractions."

READ: Task force sends out more cops 'to make homes conducive for online classes'    

Such an ordinance would likely be used as a basis to further intensify the joint task force's presence in barangays, allowing police commanders to impose crackdowns and later, harsher penalties on violators—a strategy the JTF CV Shield employed after it encouraged local governments to craft alcohol, loitering and smoking bans among others. 

It remains yet unclear how having more cops on the roads can make communities more conducive for online classes amid the coronavirus pandemic, although the task force said in an earlier statement that the directive was "buoyed by viral videos" and meant to "minimize the unnecessary noise especially coming from quarantine violators."

With cases of aggressive enforcement by police officers piling up, rights groups and critics alike have said that the intensified police presence indicates a de-facto martial law in the country, though the task force in the past has asserted that sending out more cops is part and parcel of the medical solution required in a pandemic. 

"Our students are having a hard time adjusting because this is the first year they are doing this, we should not make it harder for them so if possible, we ask our countrymen to avoid drinking, gossiping and especially to videoke during our student study hours," Police Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, JTF CV Shield commander said in Filipino.

READ: Task force to LGUs: Intensify ordinances, enforcement of health protocols

“The keywords here are respect and understanding because all of us went through being students. But we should all understand that things are harder for the children these days because they have deadlines to follow in answering their learning modules,” he added.

Cascolan: Police to 'make communities conducive' to online learning

Speaking at his weekly press briefing Monday morning, Police Gen. Camilo Cascolan, the chief of the Philippine National Police, also said that police have been asked to coordinate with barangay officials to make communities conducive to distance learning and work from home setups.

The PNP is part of the JTF CV Shield, along with the military, fire protection bureau and coast guard. 

“We will be asking the barangays to have a resolution regarding the use of these noisy equipment. Barangay ordinances will be in place and we will coordinate with them,” Cascolan told reporters Monday.

“Everything will be coordinated with police stations. Should there be big problems, they can make a call there. They will have direct contact with operational units in the area,” Cascolan added.

READ: PNP seeks barangay noise ban during online classes | Police set to use 'anti-tambay' template for quarantine enforcement

The JTF CV Shield added that these were part of "security and safety measures being implemented before in school premises [which were] now being expanded to cover the entire barangay since almost every house in the community was practically converted into a classroom where children read and answer the learning modules."

In July, the joint task force also said it was looking at "discipline-based" ordinances to serve as "tools" for them to clamp down further on quarantine violators. 

Belmonte appeals for cooperation amid online classes

In a separate statement issued Tuesday morning, Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte asked barangays to issue warnings to residents to refrain from activities that can distract the students in their distance learning, including karaoke sessions or playing loud music.

Belmonte explained that the new normal requires community cooperation since studying at home presents plenty of distractions that can affect the focus of students, though she did not mention any bans or ordinances against the practice. 

“Online classes are challenging not just for the students, but also for the teachers and parents who are helping them. That is why we appeal for cooperation from all residents and support the learning of the children,” she said.

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