The Philippine National Police (PNP) is intensifying its enforcement of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ). To discourage citizens from leaving their homes for non-essential matters, the PNP has warned that it will immediately arrest violators of the quarantine according to Republic Act 11469, The Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.
"There will be no more warning for ECQ violators. Instead, arrest and inquest procedures will be applied to cases of violations of Republic Act 11469. We will implement the strict enhanced community quarantine," said PNP chief Gen. Archie Gamboa in a virtual press con yesterday.
The stricter measures take effect immediately in Metro Manila, Central Luzon, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon provinces. Only APORs listed in the PNP's earlier statement will be allowed to travel during this period.
“These violations of law carry with it appropriate penalties and fines, but, what will be more burdensome for violators are the tedious judicial process and the implications of a derogatory record to their personal criminal profile,” he added.
The tougher stance is in response to a large number of violators in Metro Manila. From March 17 to April 21, Gamboa said 98,986 quarantine violators were warned, 6,168 were fined, 31,363 were arrested in which 2,467 are still detained with 24,248 cases filed, totaling to 136,517 violators for the past 35 days of the enhanced community quarantine.
In the same period, 732 persons were also arrested for hoarding, profiteering, and manipulation of prices of basic goods. Some 9,419 drivers of public utility vehicles were apprehended violating the mass transport suspension during the quarantine period.
The PNP reports the highest number in the Southern Police District with 15,475 cases, followed by the Northern Police District (NPD) with 7,407 cases. The Eastern Police District (EPD) and Quezon City Police District (QCPD) both have over 2,000 cases and Manila Police District (MPD) has over 1,000 cases.
To bolster its numbers and more efficiently enforce the law, the PNP had earlier ordered the deployment of Special Action Force (SAF) commandos to assist the local police units.
“I have also authorized the deployment of 12 teams of Special Action Force, totaling 116 personnel to strategic locations, initially within Metro Manila to augment local PNP Units in the intensified enforcement of ECQ starting today,” he added.
Besides enforcing the quarantine, Gamboa added that the PNP was also assigned to lead contact tracing of people who are possibly suspect, probable, and confirmed Covid-19 cases. Gamboa urged the local government units (LGUs) to support the police in their task of contact tracing.