The Philippine National Police (PNP) continues to apprehend individuals who violate the curfew set by local government units amidst the enhanced community quarantine enforced to prevent the spread of the 2019 Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19).
In a statement on Sunday, March 29, PNP Deputy Chief for Operations PLtGen Guillermo Eleazar said that LGUs, through the Department of Interior and Local Government, appealed for the police to not be lenient with curfew violators.
Eleazar, commander of the Joint Task Force Corona Virus Shield, mentioned that LGUs cited difficulties convincing their constituents to follow the guidelines of the enhanced community quarantine in their appeal.
Joint Task Force Corona Virus Shield also discovered that a total of 42,826 curfew violators were apprehended from the period of March 17 up to March 27. Out of the said, 12,094 came from Metro Manila
Apprehended curfew violators will be taken to the nearest police stations for investigation and for cases to be filed against them.
“Just imagine if, shall we say a quarter of these violators are already virus carriers, they will not only endanger the health and the lives of our policemen and other people manning the quarantine control points but also the health workers and other frontliners who are exempted from the quarantine,” Eleazar said.
“Based on our assessment, the number of curfew violators will just continue to rise if we become lenient on them. This will definitely defeat the purpose of the declaration of the Enhanced Community Quarantine which President (Rodrigo) Duterte approved purposely to contain the COVID-19,” he added.
A day earlier, on Saturday, March 28, Eleazar said during the Laging Handa press briefing that the PNP will no longer detain curfew violators but instead charges will be filed against them after the COVID-19 crisis.
The PNP official also explained that only frontliners are exempted from the curfew.
The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) also said on Monday, March 30, that the Joint Task Force Corona Virus Shield has been instructed to continue arresting curfew violators ‘to show the public that the government is serious in implementing the Enhanced Community Quarantine imposed by the President’.
DILG Sec. Eduardo Año also said that all arrested violators will be released immediately if they will not undergo inquest proceedings within 12 hours.