By Calvin Cordova
CEBU CITY—Police here warned that they will not hesitate to arrest people who will violate the curfew imposed by the city as part of its measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Police Col. Engelbert Soriano, chief of the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO), said it was observed that there were still many people loitering on the streets of the city on the first day of the implementation of the nine-hour curfew last Monday.
“The response of the public is not yet very positive. That’s why starting today (Tuesday), we will intensify our enforcement of the curfew,” said Soriano in a press conference yesterday.
Mayor Edgardo Labella on Sunday issued Executive No. 52 that imposes a curfew from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m.
Soriano said the police will be stricter on elderly people in enforcing the curfew.
“According to health authorities, 70 percent of those who acquired the virus were elderly people. So if we take out those 70 percent, it will have a great effect in preventing the transmission of the diseases,” said Soriano.
“If working age, they can justify their presence on the streets. But if senior citizens, there’s no reason for them to be on the streets during curfew hours. We will be more stricter on senior citizens because we want to protect them from the infection,” added Sotiano.
Soriano said police will observe maximum tolerance but those who will resist will be brought to police stations.
“Violators will be advised to go home but if they will resist, we will arrest and file charges against them,” Soriano said.
Soriano asked the public to cooperate especially that the CCPO has limited personnel to enforce the measures against the diseases.
CCPO has at least 1,200 personnel, but only 600 are deployable.
Soriano said 200 personnel from the Regional Mobile Force Battalion and another 50 personnel from the Philippine Army have augmented the CPPO force.
“Some personnel have to stay in offices since we have administrative works to comply also. That’s why are asking cooperation from the public since this is the best way to stop the disease from spreading,” said Soriano
Aside from the curfew, police are also tasked to monitor the liquor ban and the general community quarantine that the city has imposed.
Regular checkpoints are being put up in the city’s entry points to monitor the people entering the city.
“I have advised our men to treat these checkpoints not just as an anti-COVID drive but primarily as an anti-criminality measure,” said Soriano.
Soriano said the CCPO has asked the City Council to provide them with additional personal protective equipment such as gloves, masks and goggles to protect the policemen from the virus.