As the number of corona virus disease (COVID-19) cases continue to rise, so does the number of apprehended quarantine violators, the Joint Task Force COVID Shield said on Tuesday.
Since March 17 when the first community lockdown was implemented in the entire Luzon, more than 300,000 quarantine violators have been apprehended across the country.
According to Police Lt. Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar, commander of the JTF COVID Shield, all the violators were either warned or fined, depending on the existing local ordinance of the Local Government Units (LGUs) where the violators were apprehended. There were also some violators who were charged.
Based on the JTF COVID Shield data, a total of 308,859 have been apprehended from March 17 to August 10, or during the 147 days of the strict implementation of the quarantine rules.
Of the figure, 47 percent of them or 146,012 were warned; 25 percent or 77,190 were fined while the rest of the 28 percent were detained and charged.
The number of the accosted violators further increased as the JTF COVID Shield included the data on violation on motorcycle pillion riding since July 10, according to Eleazar.
Violators of motorcycle back-riding from July 10 to July 31, however, were just warned as they were given 22-days to comply with the motorcycle barrier requirement for pillion riding.
But since the rules on pillion riding were strictly implemented on August 1, a total of 16,927 were apprehended across the country.
Noticeably, Eleazar said the increase in the number of COVID-19 cases comes with the increase in the number of quarantine violators accosted for defying the rules against unnecessary travels and other non-compliance to the minimum health safety standard protocols such as wearing of face masks and observance of physical distancing.
President Duterte earlier lamented that the hard-headedness of some people who continue to defy the quarantine rules is making it hard for the government to protect the people and eventually win the battle against the coronavirus infection.
He said they also continue to receive reports of violations of quarantine rules at the community level such as engaging in drinking sessions, holding and attending parties and other celebrations and even gambling.
In the past weeks, the number of infection rates has increased—the biggest infection reported in one day was on Monday with almost 7,000 reported.
There were 136,638 cases reported in the Philippines which is considered as the highest among the countries in South East Asia.
On Monday, the Philippine government protested a newspaper report in Thailand that calls the Philippines as "land of COVID."
“The success and failure of our fight against COVID-19 depends on the cooperation of our kababayan. The more they defy and challenge the rules set by the government to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the more they make it difficult for our government to protect them,” said Eleazar.
“On the part of the JTF COVID Shield, we will continue to maximize what we have to strictly enforce the quarantine rules because what is at stake here is the lives of the Filipino people and the fate of our country,” he added.