Thousands apprehended on first night of Metro Manila curfew

Franco Luna - Philstar.com
Thousands apprehended on first night of Metro Manila curfew
Photo shows curfew and quarantine violators brought to a lecture in Muntinlupa City.
Release / Muntinlupa City PIO

MANILA, Philippines — Police and local government enforcers are back to their old ways a year into quarantine, imposing the metrowide curfew with fines, detention, and even arrests on more than a thousand caught outside on the first night. 

In what seems like a repeat of 2020, cops are on the streets to "compel" citizens to comply with minimum health standards amid the unified 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew in Metro Manila.  

Over 9,000 officers of the national police were deployed to man more than 350 curfew checkpoints across Metro Manila, while individual barangays saw beat and mobile car patrols by enforcers. 

READ: Back to 'disiplina'? With rising COVID-19 cases, gov't scrambles to enforce health protocols anew

According to Manila police, 926 citizens were apprehended for violations. 

Per Section 5 of the city government's Ordinance 8616, curfew violators face a penalty of P5,000 and/or imprisonment of not more than one month. 

The Quezon City Police District in a separate release disclosed that it recorded a total of 668 curfew violators across its 23 checkpoints in the city. 

"The QCPD assures the public that that the security measures being implemented is for the benefit of the general population," Police Brig. Gen. Danilo Macerin, QCPD director, said in a statement. 

“We are doing our best to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and that we will never waiver in our commitment to serve and protect the public amidst the rising of COVID 19 cases.” 

San Juan City police station reported 49 who were apprehended, some of whom were detained in an open basketball court in the city as a penalty.  

Not all were violating curfew: five were apprehended for traffic violations, while 16 were found without face masks or face shields. One was issued an ordinance violation receipt for smoking. 

Members of the Muntinlupa City police and barangay enforcers also apprehended "at least 203 curfew violators, of which 36 were minors" on the first night of the curfew's implementation in the city.

Muntinlupa public information officer Tez Navarro said the violators were taken to barangay covered courts where they attended seminars about the unified curfew hours, health protocols, and the local COVID-19 situation.

READ: Here's a briefer on the uniform Metro Manila curfew

Aggregated figures were also generally mixed. Some cities, including Quezon City, also deployed local government enforcers who had their own data. 

Prelude to curfew

From Saturday to Monday, the Quezon City PIO said, more than 1,600 were apprehended by the QC Task Force Disiplina, the local government's enforcement arm. Earlier in the quarantine, the task force made headlines twice: once for beating a quarantine violator with sticks, and again for saying that a "shoot to kill" order was waiting for quarantine violators. 

"Fines were also issued to 1588 curfew violators. They have the option to render community service if they fail to pay the fines imposed upon them. Meanwhile, 547 curfew violators were issued initial warnings and subsequently released," the National Capital Region Police Office said, adding that the first night of uniform curfew "was generally successful due to the support of the LGU and the cooperation of the public."

"NCRPO deployed a total of 8341 for this operation resulting in the apprehension/arrest of 1236 curfew violators," the office added. 

The last time cops were deployed to enforce quarantine rules, over 140,000 were arrested for "disobedience" and violating quarantine. Human rights violations were also well-documented during that time period. 

"To the public, we also offer a formula to prevent unnecessary confrontation and spare yourself from arrest: 1. Respect the rules on the observance of the minimum health safety standard protocols; and 2. Respect the authorities that are enforcing these protocols," Police Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, PNP OIC, said in an earlier statement.  

"To our personnel on the ground, be reminded of our two (2) rules to avoid unnecessary confrontation with the public: 1. Observe maximum tolerance; and 2. Respect the people’s rights. We will be closely monitoring your compliance."

— with a report from ONE News PH/Justinne Punsalang






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