PNP chief orders deployment of more cops in public areas

PNP chief orders deployment of more cops in public areas
Minimum health protocol violators are profiled and issued with ticket at Quezon City Memorial Circle after they were nabbed during a one time big time operation of Quezon City Task Force Disiplina Task force, QCPD and DPOS last May 12, 2021.
The STAR / Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines — The chief of the Philippine National Police has tasked police chiefs to deploy more men in public areas to prevent mass gatherings that can eventually become super spreader events. 

In a release sent to reporters, Police Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said he issued the order after Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said he will require the PNP and other law enforcers to strengthen their visibility in public places to ensure that health protocols are observed, and mass gatherings are prevented. 

"I have instructed all police commanders throughout the country to intensify cooperation with the barangays in patrolling and vigilant against super-spreader events amid the threat of Delta variant of COVID-19," Eleazar said. 

The PNP chief said police commanders on the ground should determine how many more men are needed to secure public locations and other establishments in their areas of responsibility, and deploy them immediately. 

Deployment of cops to enforce quarantine protocols has been criticized as an overly militaristic response to a public health crisis. The resulting rights violations and cases of abuse by cops are also well-documented. 

READ: Is deploying cops really a 'tried and tested' pandemic response?

Eleazar in his statement highlighted that this enforcement of protocols should be done jointly by the police and the local officials, especially barangay workers. 

“I also warn the organizers of these activities that we will have no patience when you are caught violating because we will make sure that you face multiple cases,” Eleazar said.

"I would rather you hate me for restricting super-spreader events than for us to simultaneously haul and burn corpses as happened in India because of your stubbornness and disregard for safety," he said.

Cases of quarantine violations are piling up as of late. Local government units across the country have reported superspreader events, such as drinking parties and streetfights in their localities. 

Earlier this week, parties held by so-called influencers went viral on social media. The Quezon City government has since closed the establishments involved and filed charges. 

According to the DILG earlier, more than 64,000 recorded community health protocol violations were registered from May 31 to June 6.

READ: Eight barangay captains charged over 'lax' enforcement in mass gatherings

Año has warned that local chief executives will also be made answerable for the violations of health and safety protocols in their areas.

Eleazar said the PNP will closely coordinate with the national government to determine how law enforcers could further strengthen the implementation of quarantine guidelines.

Franco Luna 

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