Police commanders in Metro Manila and four adjacent provinces were instructed to beef up their visibility and patrol activities in public markets and other places of convergence for the enforcement of stricter quarantine rules under the Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ), the Joint Task Force COVID Shield said Wednesday.
Police Lt. Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar, commander of the JTF COVID Shield, said police commanders were instructed to mobilize the barangay tanod and the city and municipal Public Order and Safety personnel to augment the police force in the conduct of regular patrol from the city and town proper down to the barangay level.
“The barangay tanod and the personnel of the Public Order and Safety of the Local Government Units are essential force multipliers in the enforcement of quarantine rules since policemen could not cover the entire Metro Manila, Bulacan, Laguna, Rizal and Cavite,” said Eleazar.
Eleazar explained that the visibility of both the police and LGUs enforcers is important in compelling the people to behave and follow the minimum health safety standard protocol that includes wearing of face masks, observance of physical distancing and prohibition of mass gathering.
Authorities have been receiving reports during the first day assessment of the MECQ enforcement that some people and business establishments continue to violate the guidelines.
For instance, there were reports that some people continue to go out and roam the places of convergence even if they are not listed as Authorized Persons Outside Residence (APOR) while some eateries continue to allow dine-in services.
The continuous non-observance of the minimum health safety standard protocol is seen as one of the major reasons why the number of COVID-19 cases continue to rise.
Based on the JTF COVID data, a total of 289,900 violators were warned, fined and charged nationwide for violation of quarantine protocols since the start of the community quarantine implementation on March 17 to August 3.
The number of violators significantly decreases if the presence of policemen, soldiers and law enforcers is highly-visible.
“The number of quarantine violators accosted in the first 140 days of the community quarantine justifies strict enforcement of quarantine rules (as this is) a form of medical solution since it focuses on prevention of infection. In this time of pandemic, we should all be responsible to at least protect ourselves and our family without being told or compelled by law enforcers and other authorities,” he added.