By Aaron Recuenco
Additional policemen and force multipliers in barangays will be deployed in public markets across the country to ensure strict implementation of social distancing amid reports of violations.
This comes as reports and social media posts show people converging in public markets, violating social distancing rules and other enhanced community quarantine protocols in place to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Police Lt. Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar, commander of the Joint Task Force COVID Shield, said policemen and other force multipliers would be tasked to implement limited entry and exit points in public markets.
In this way, Eleazar said the number of people entering the public market would be limited and therefore would ensure compliance of social distancing inside.
“There will be monitoring teams composed of policemen, or soldiers that will be augmented by barangay officials, barangay tanod, and other force multipliers to ensure that social distancing is strictly observed inside the public market,” said Eleazar
He explained that police teams or monitoring teams composed of other law enforcement units and force multipliers will constantly remind and warn people to observe social distancing inside public markets through the use of megaphones.
Eleazar said that other devices such as portable speaker system could also be used not only to compel but also make people conscious about social distancing rules inside the public markets.
Eleazer added that PNP leadership, under Gen. Archie Francisco Gamboa, and Department of the Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año already gave a go-signal for a stricter implementation of social distancing rules in public markets.
Eleazar said the PNP chief also instructed local police commanders to continue mobile patrols in public places and residential areas under their responsibility, to ensure that those who have no business of going to the public market and other places must stay in their home.
“The real purpose of the enhanced community quarantine, which we have been doing [for] almost one month now, would be put to waste if [we] continue to allow people to violate home quarantine rules especially social distancing,” said Eleazar.
He also asked the public to immediately report to the JTF COVID Shield any ECQ protocol violations in their barangays through the following hotlines: 0998-849-0013 for Smart users and 0917-538-2495 for Globe users.
The JTF CoViD Shield can also be reached through its email address: [email protected]
Eleazer also urged local officials to be innovative with solutions or copy good practices implemented by other local government units, such as a mobile palengke to keep people from converging in marketplaces.