QCPD set to apprehend violators caught without face masks
Elite policemen patrol a market while people shop during a government imposed enhanced quarantine as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 novel coronavirus in Manila on April 21, 2020.
AFP/Maria Tan

QCPD set to apprehend violators caught without face masks

Franco Luna (Philstar.com) - May 9, 2021 - 10:21am

MANILA, Philippines — The Quezon City Police District is gearing up for intensified enforcement of quarantine protocols in the city in the coming days, promising the "deployment of police officers 24/7, particularly in public areas to intensify police visibility."

This comes after President Rodrigo Duterte in a televised address to the public on Wednesday night ordered cops to arrest face mask violators. 

“My orders to the police are those who are not wearing their masks properly in order to protect the public—because if not, if you cannot defend the public—to arrest them and detain them, investigate why they are doing it. They have nine hours,” he said.

In a statement, Police Brig. Gen. Antonio Yarra said that police in the city have been reminded that arrests should "be guided by the principles of existing laws, local ordinances and other policies relative to the observance of minimum health standards based on the IATF-MEID guidelines."

Yarra said that the QCPD has already recorded 3,625 violators with 348 arrested while 1,139 received a warning.

At least 2,100 offenders have paid the corresponding penalties in two days, he said.

On the first day of ECQ alone, the PNP disclosed that nearly 2,600 were arrested for various quarantine violations across Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal.

This comes on top of the over 17,000 who have already been apprehended for supposed quarantine violations since the PNP started deploying cops to enforce uniform curfew hours in the capital region.

"Minimum health protocols are not only for your safety but also for your families and friends. Let us not allow obedience to ordinances end up in arrests or apprehension. Covid-19 is still widespread, and unity is key for us to reduce the Covid-19 case in the city," Mayor Joy Belmonte said.

“We welcome the President’s orders as an affirmation of the city’s preventive strategy in dealing with the pandemic. We must do our part to ensure that cases continue to drop, and for the economy to recover."

Cops told: Arrest face mask violators 'but do not hurt or punish them'

In a separate statement, newly-minted PNP chief Police Gen. Guillermo Eleazar assured the public of the police’s full respect for human rights but said that the PNP would comply with the president's orders. 

“We can arrest them but we cannot punish them and we should not injure them. If you will (harm them), you will be answerable to me,” he said in a statement in Filipino.

Eleazar added that police officers have been ordered to exercise maximum tolerance when dealing with people on the ground.

To date, the Department of Health has recorded 1,094,849 cases of the coronavirus in the Philippines. 

“I understand the concerns of some people regarding the arrest of those not wearing face masks but this is a needed measure to ensure compliance of the people to observe the minimum health safety standard protocol,” said Eleazar.

“I believe that most of the Filipinos are doing what needs to be done to protect themselves and their family but we really do have people who are stubborn and can't be reasoned with. The President’s order is for these hard-headed people,” he added.

Earlier, cases of aggressive and overzealous enforcement  piled up over the country's first  ECQ in the name of "punishing" the public for its "stubbornness" and "complacency" with quarantine regulations.

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

The PNP earlier said it would only be imposing fines and community service on quarantine violators instead of arrests, though it seems as though this police has been redacted in the wake of the chief executive's directive. 

Interior Secretary Eduardo Año has since ordered the PNP to prepare detention areas in anticipation of the volume of arrests in the coming days.

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: June 14, 2021 - 11:46am

Follow this thread for updates on COVID-19 risk levels, safety measures, and data from Metro Manila's local government units.

Photo: The STAR/Michael Varcas

June 14, 2021 - 11:46am

The curfew in the National Capital Region will be adjusted to from midnight to 4 a.m., Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Chair Benhur Abalos announces.

The new curfew hours — shorter than the 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. curfew imposed in May — will take effect on June 15.

May 26, 2021 - 2:41pm

Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte has issued a show-cause order for Majority Floor Leader Franz Pumaren to explain alleged violations of health protocols at a food distribution event on Tuesday afternoon.

"The move is consistent with the city government’s policy of going after violators of established health and safety protocols as well as to hold them accountable for their actions, regardless of status or position," the mayor's office says.

In a press briefing, Pumaren says the food distribution in Barangay Old Balara was assisted by purok leaders to act as marshalls and ensure that health protocols were followed.

Aside from the volunteers, personnel from the Philippine National Police and the city's Task Force Disiplina were also at the event to manage the crowd, which Pumaren says reached around 5,000 to 6,000 people.

He says the line was orderly until rain disrupted the activity and acknowledges that people rushed back to get in line when the rain stopped.

"The Quezon City Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit has been instructed to conduct Covid 19 testing among participants of the activity," the mayor also says.

May 26, 2021 - 8:37am

Metro Manila Development Authority Chairman Benhur Abalos says he may ask National Capital Region mayors to consider loosening some restrictions like curfews and capacities. 

Mayors are meeting on Wednesday night, he says on the ABS-CBN News Channel.

May 17, 2021 - 5:47pm

A total of 295 tourism workers in Intramuros, Manila will receive almost P1.5 million cash assistance from the government.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat says the government approved the allotment under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, which includes direct cash assistance to workers displaced by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The beneficiaries include 138 carinderia and ambulant vendors, 87 security personnel, 20 DOT-accredited pedicab drivers, 20 janitorial services workers and 30 calesa workers. Each of them will receive a one-time cash assistance of P5,000.

May 13, 2021 - 10:43pm

GCQ under Heightened Restrictions, according to the Palace:

  • Only essential travel into and out of the NCR Plus shall be allowed.
  • Public transportation shall remain operational at such capacities and protocols in accordance with the Department of Transportation guidelines while the use of active transportation shall be promoted.
  • Also, indoor dine-in services in NCR Plus shall be at 20% venue or seating capacity while outdoor or al fresco dining shall be at 50% venue or seating capacity.
  • Outdoor tourist attractions in the NCR Plus, on the other hand, may be opened at 30% with strict adherence to minimum public health standards.
  • Further allowed in the NCR Plus are specialized markets of the Department of Tourism (DOT) following the minimum public health standards and implementation of protocols and restrictions as set by the DOT.
  • Religious gatherings and gatherings for necrological services, wakes, inurnment and funerals for those who died of causes other than COVID-19 in NCR Plus shall be allowed up to 10% of the venue capacity.
  • Also continued to be allowed in GCQ areas with heightened restrictions are non-contact sports in outdoor contact sports, games, scrimmages; and personal care services that allow for services not requiring mask removal, such as salons, parlors, beauty clinics, etc at 30% capacity.
  • Individuals, 18-65 years of age, can leave their places of residence in GCQ areas with heightened restrictions.
  • Meanwhile, entertainment venues, such as bars, concert halls, theaters, etc; recreational venues, such as internet cafes, billiards halls, arcades, etc; amusement parks, fairs, playgrounds, kiddie rides; indoor sports courts and venues and indoor tourist attractions; venues for meetings, conferences, exhibitions shall not be allowed in GCQ areas with heightened restrictions.
  • Interzonal travel from NCR Plus areas, except those conducted by Authorized Persons Outside Residence (APORs), shall remain prohibited in GCQ areas with heightened restrictions.
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