PNP spokesman Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac said they would beef up law enforcement operations against drug suspects, which have been sidetracked for more than a month due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis.
Boy Santos, file
PNP to intensify drug war after ECQ
Emmanuel Tupas (The Philippine Star) - May 4, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police is gearing up for an intensified war on drugs after the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila and other parts of the country is lifted on May 15, a PNP official announced yesterday.

PNP spokesman Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac said they would beef up law enforcement operations against drug suspects, which have been sidetracked for more than a month due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis.

“Kapag tayo ay nag-transition into general community quarantine after May 15, asahan po natin na ibabalik muli ang lahat ng anti-crime operations, especially the war on drugs,” Banac said.

Aside from Metro Manila, other regions still under enhanced community quarantine are Central Luzon and Calabarzon.

The PNP is still collating reports on accomplishments against illegal drugs, but Banac said these are not significant as before as the COVID-19 pandemic has sidetracked their operations.

The PNP is among the implementors of President Duterte’s directive in containing the spread of the virus by making sure that people stay at home.

The police organization has been criticized amid reports of alleged abuses being committed by some lawmen against quarantine and curfew violators.

The PNP is also preparing for a possible surge in crimes when the ECQ is lifted.

“Medyo talagang malaking hamon ang kakaharapin ng PNP pero tinitiyak natin sa ating publiko na sapat po ang bilang ng kapulisan,” Banac said.

PNP deputy chief for operations Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said the crime volume in the country went down by 61 percent from 7,010 cases to 2,718 during the Luzon-wide lockdown.

A total of 158,353 quarantine and curfew violators have been accosted by police.

Force multipliers

As more people are expected to be allowed outside when quarantine measures are eased this month, the PNP said it would tap other sectors as force multipliers to maintain peace and order.

Banac said about half a million licensed security guards could help the PNP in making sure that only those exempted from the quarantine can leave their homes.

He said security guards could contribute by admonishing unauthorized persons who might visit commercial establishments once the ECQ is lifted.

Security officers can also help ensure physical distancing to curb the transmission of COVID-19 infection.

Other force multipliers that could help the PNP are barangay peacekeeping officers and the military, Banac said.

BERNARD BANAC ECQ
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