The PNP plans to double up on police visibility as more parts of the country prepare to move into general community quarantine (GCQ).
Joint Task Force COVID Shield Commander, Lt. General Guillermo Eleazar, said the PNP will heighten police visibility as more areas under Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) will shift towards General Community Quarantine (GCQ) after May 15, 2020. With the more relaxed version of quarantine being implemented in more areas, the police are wary of a possible surge in criminal activity.
“Under GCQ, more establishments will be allowed to operate because our economy will be partially opened. This means that more people would be allowed to go out. So, our police visibility would be in these areas in order to strictly implement the basic rules such as wearing face masks and physical distancing,” said Eleazar.
Eleazar said the PNP will likely ease the strict measures in order to avoid causing traffic jams as the workforce gets back to work. Instead, it will intensify the use of mobile checkpoints and random checking of private vehicles by personnel of the Highway Patrol Group (PNP-HPG) who are expected to deploy several motorcycle-riding officers. Besides these, quarantine control points (QCPs) and dedicated control points (DCPs) will still be operational in areas under GCQ.
To help the PNP personnel curb criminal activity under the new normal, they will ask help from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for added visibility to deter criminal elements. Based on PNP data, criminal activity declined 61% in the past 56 days of the implementation of the ECQ compared to the previous 56 days before the ECQ.
Before the implementation of the ECQ, the average cases in eight focus crimes (murder, homicide, physical injury, robbery, theft, carjacking, carnapping of motorcycle, and rape), was 150 a day. It went down to 88 on March 17 and in the past 56 days of the ECQ, the average was at 59.
“The challenge now is how to sustain it. So, our kababayans should expect continuous stricter measures such as curfew during nighttime, because this measure is not only to prevent the spread of Covid-19 but also as our preventive measure against criminal elements. We ask the public to gradually accept the fact that these strict measures are the new normal in terms of peace and order under the time of this pandemic,” added Eleazar.
The PNP has a tough job ahead of it as a larger number of people are expected to venture out of their homes to begin working once again. For our part, let us always bring proper identification and paperwork, always wear face masks, follow social distancing guidelines, and comply with officers’ orders when passing through checkpoints.