Police commanders were tasked on Oct. 8 to focus on the barangay-level enforcement of the ban on videoke as more local government units (LGUs) have expressed support to prohibit its use as a way of protecting online learners at least during their class hours.
Police Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, commander of the Joint Task Force COVID Shield, said the instruction is particularly for police commanders in areas where the videoke ban was already in place like the City of Manila.
Navotas City is currently finalizing the ordinance, while Cebu City and Pasay City are expected to modify their existing ordinances on the use of videoke and on the prohibition of loud noises during online and modular learning hours.
While some LGUs have already existing ordinances that limit the use of videoke until 10 p.m., Eleazar stressed the need to modify the time when it’s allowed in primary consideration of online classes during daytime.
“We express our sincerest gratitude to the mayors, and the rest of those who compose local government units, for their immediate response to our call to protect our online learners from disturbing noises. Our students are already struggling to adapt to this type of learning and the least that we could do is to make sure that they are not distracted by unnecessary loud noises in their respective communities for them to focus on their school works,” said Eleazar.
“We encourage other LGUs to do the same because this kind of ordinance will help strengthen the enforcement of your JTF COVID Shield, of your Philippine National Police in ensuring that every barangay is conducive for learning under the online and modular type of classes,” he added.
Eleazar said they will leave it to the discretion of LGUs to find a middle ground between the right of students for peaceful online classes and the need for their constituents to use videoke to unwind.
Eleazar said they have already coordinated with Secretary of the Interior and Local Government Eduardo Año, who is also the vice chairman of the National Task Force on COVID-19, to tap barangay tanods and the LGUs’ Public Order and Safety personnel for the enforcement of ordinances relating to the protection of online learners from loud noises in the barangay.
Año, for his part, said that increased police visibility at the barangay level will also help in the strict and proper enforcement of minimum health and safety protocols.
In order to maximize the enforcement of the ordinance, Eleazar urged commanders to set up Barangay Assistance Desks that would be manned by at least two policemen. The Barangay Assistance Desk was initiated by PNP chief Gen. Camilo Cascolan.
Eleazar said the mere presence of policemen in the community is already a way of discouraging local residents to use videoke and engage in boisterous activities, knowing that they would be reminded to respect the students in the community.
Eleazar said police commanders should also ensure that their hotlines and social media accounts, especially Facebook, are working and are always active to attend to the complaints and reports of residents in their respective Areas of Responsibility.
Based on the monitoring of the PNP, roughly 25 percent of social media accounts of local police stations are in “active” status, or those actively engaging the people they serve in the community.
“Through social media, people in the community, especially students, are given easy and quick access to seek assistance against those that distract them from their classes or those blatantly violating quarantine rules,” said Eleazar.