By Calvin Cordova
CEBU CITY — While several quarantine protocols have eased up in Cebu province, the wearing of face masks in public and workplaces remains mandatory.
And this could pose a major problem for the police in their anti-criminality campaign.
“It (wearing of facemask) is the new normal. We cannot just tell somebody to remove his mask,” said Police Regional Office-Central Visayas (PRO-7) Director Brig. Gen. Albert Ignatius Ferro.
But since the wearing of masks in a mandatory health measure during these times, Ferro said the police have no choice but to adapt to the new normal to ensure an effective anti-criminality campaign.
“We will have some innovations in our operational protocols. Our approach now will be intelligence-driven. We have to intensify our intelligence gathering and if we have a reason to believe that what we have is the perpetrator or a crime had just been committed, then we can implement arrest,” said Ferro.
Cebu province was downgraded from enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) to general community quarantine (GCQ) on Wednesday, May 20.
In the Executive Order No. 18 that Cebu Governor Garcia issued, malls, eateries and other commercial establishments have been allowed to open but with limited capacity.
While holding of masses remains prohibited, churches are already open for public visitation.
Public transportation have resumed but only with limited capacity.
Ferro said they will coordinate with mall management to ensure that health protocols such as social distancing will be followed in their premises.
“We will tap security guards so they will the ones to enforce these protocols because we don’t want to overwhelm our policemen. Instead of being deployed in the malls, we will utilize our police in manning checkpoints and securing areas with high cases of COVID 19,” said Ferro.
As of May 19, Cebu province has 72 confirmed COVID-19 cases.
Ferro said the police will be distributing leaflets that will guide the public on what to do when they are outdoors.