PNP vows 'maximum tolerance' as it enforces restrictions on unvaccinated

Franco Luna - Philstar.com
PNP vows 'maximum tolerance' as it enforces restrictions on unvaccinated
Armed with yantoks, members of the Southern Police District roam around Barangay Baclaran in Parañaque City on Monday night, March 15, 2021, to remind the public of the strict implementation of the unified curfew hours from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19.
The STAR / Miguel de Guzman

MANILA, Philippines — The chief of the Philippine National Police vowed the police force would enforce local mandates arising from the declaration of Alert Level 3 in Metro Manila with maximum tolerance and respect for human rights.

This comes after Metro Manila's mayors agreed to pass local ordinances that will restrict the movements and activities of unvaccinated people in the capital region while Alert Level 3 is in effect. 

In a statement, Police Gen. Dionardo Carlos stressed what he said was the "importance of the proper interpretation and enforcement of the protocol," adding that the PNP’s procedure is to reprimand minors who are loitering outside during curfew hours while vowing that "maximum tolerance will be upheld."

“Every police unit, therefore, must be properly oriented with the local executive orders. They may differ from one another to a certain extent according to the wisdom of the local officials, but definitely, they must synchronize with the national guidelines,” Carlos said.

According to the Metro Manila Council, individuals violating city resolutions face "a fine of not less than P20,000.00 but not more than P50,000.00 or imprisonment of not less than one month but not more than six months, or both such fine and imprisonment, at the discretion of the proper court, cited in the resolution."

"Any individual or establishment who or which will falsify the COVID-19 vaccine card shall be prosecuted under Act No. 3815 or the Revised Penal Code, as amended, pursuant to Section 12 of Republic Act No. 11525 or the COVID-19 Vaccination Program Act of 2021," it also said in a resolution issued Monday. 

Restrictions on the unvaccinated

The same resolution says that unvaccinated people will also be barred from eating at food establishments and will not be allowed to go on leisure and social trips to malls, hotels, event venues and sports and country clubs. They will also not be allowed domestic travel on public transportation.

Manila City Mayor Isko Moreno also announced on Monday the reimposition of curfew hours for all minors from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. in his locality as an added measure to monitor the movement of the younger members of the society who are vulnerable to viral infections.

In a video statement posted to his personal page, Moreno added that unvaccinated minors and adults were prohibited from entering malls in the city. 

San Juan City Mayor Francis Zamora, on the other hand, said that the city council would call a special session on Tuesday to craft the city's ordinance.

In a separate statement, he said that the ordinance will penalize business establishments that will violate the ordinance and allow unvaccinated people to enter their premises. Likewise, those who will be caught with fake vaccination cards will also be apprehended.

"This will be done for the safety and general welfare of our people. This is also a way of encouraging the unvaccinated to get vaccinated," he said. 

The PNP for its part also said that while it expects fewer people going outdoors, it also appeals to establishments and local government units to assist in enforcement by deploying force multipliers if the need arises.

Thus far, PNP data shows that from November 5 to January 2, over 240,000 violators of curfew ordinances and minimum public health standards have been recorded in Metro Manila. 

This, while 34 quarantine control points have been set up around the National Capital Region and are manned by 654 personnel from the PNP, Bureau of Fire Protection, and Armed Forces of the Philippines. 

'Maximum tolerance'

Police Col. Roderick Alba, PNP spokesperson, added that local governments restricting the movement of unvaccinated individuals "have the authority to set their local guidelines basing from the National direction of the IATF."

"We will exercise maximum tolerance on the implementation of the policies, at the same time making sure that no one is above the law," Alba said in a text message to reporters. 

READ: Back to 'disiplina'? On second day of ECQ, stories of power-tripping enforcers

Even as the national police made the same promise earlier on in the coronavirus-induced quarantines, cases of aggressive and overzealous quarantine enforcement piled up in the name of "punishing" the public for its "stubbornness" and "complacency" with quarantine regulations. Quarantine violators were shot, beaten, and arrested. 

When it came to anti-vaccination protesters, though, the PNP was indeed tolerant to the max. 

After members of the group Gising Maharlika held a protest at the Liwasang Bonifacio in Manila to oppose the vaccination program and pandemic response of the national government and suggest the pandemic was "planned," the PNP at the time was careful to say that it "respects their belief." 

Despite photo proof of the mass gathering going viral on social media, the COVID-denying protesters — likely to be the most affected by the new ordinances — were let off with a "warning."

READ: COVID-19 deniers, anti-vaccine protesters get 'warning' from PNP chief

The Palace announced on December 31 that Metro Manila will be under Alert Level 3 from January 3 to 15 because of an increase in COVID-19 cases and the threat posed by the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

"The PNP will remain vigilant in upholding human rights and civil liberties that may be violated in the course of wrong interpretation of these local statutes. The PNP will exercise flexibility to ensure that human rights are protected and the law is applied equally to all," Carlos also said.  



As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: June 15, 2022 - 5:31pm

President Rodrigo Duterte signs Executive Order No. 151 adopting the alert level system for nationwide rollout.

Under the order, the alert level system will be implemented in four phases.

  • Phase 1: NCR, Central Luzon, CALABARZON, Central Visayas, Davao region
  • Phase 2: Ilocos, Eastern Visayas, Northern Mindanao
  • Phase 3: Cagayan, Bicol, Zamboanga Peninsula

— Main photo: AFP/Ted Aljibe

June 15, 2022 - 5:31pm

Malacañang announces that Metro Manila will remain under the most lenient Alert Level 1 from June 16 to 30 despite an uptick in COVID-19 infections in the capital region. — The STAR/Alexis Romero

April 13, 2022 - 9:03am

Metro Manila will remain under Alert Level 1 from April 16 to 30, Malacañang announces.

April 6, 2022 - 5:08pm

President Rodrigo Duterte says he won't lift the alert levels yet because other areas are still grappling with pandemic infections.

"You know almost everyone wants to go back to zero or (Alert Level) 1. That cannot be because some areas still have (infections). Until such time that we only have one or two (cases) all over the country, Alert Level 1 would still be a good, like a buffer for us," Duterte says.

"Let us not lift that first until we are very sure that everything is really all right especially in our area because it would reinfect and reinfect and then there is a new mutant, we might have problems," he adds. — Alexis Romero

March 31, 2022 - 5:58pm

Metro Manila will remain under the most lenient Alert Level 1 until April 15, acting presidential spokesman Martin Andanar says. — The STAR/Alexis Romero


February 27, 2022 - 4:12pm

Metro Manila, 38 other areas to be placed under the most lenient Alert Level 1 or "new normal" starting March 1, IATF spokesman Karlo Nograles says

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