Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar, chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), wants to hold the adult guests of the Gubat sa Ciudad resort accountable for violating the protocols when they went into swimming last week although Caloocan City is still under Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ).
But in the meantime, he said he respects the decision of Caloocan City Mayor Oscar Malapitan to prioritize the isolation and testing for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on those who went to the Gubat sa Ciudad resort.
“I commend Mayor Oca for prioritizing the isolation and testing of these individuals. Mahalaga ito para mapigilan din natin ang pagkalat ng virus (This is important to prevent the spread of the virus),” said Eleazar.
But the Chief PNP stressed that those who went to the Gubat sa Ciudad should later be held accountable for their irresponsible actions based on the penalties stipulated in the ordinance of the Local Government Unit, either by the barangay or the City government of Caloocan. The resort, which can accommodate up to 500 guests, was reportedly in full capacity during the incident.
“Hindi puwede na lagi na lang tayong magpa-pasensya dito. Matatanggap natin kung ang ugat ng violation ay dahil para maghanap ng kakainin ng kanilang pamilya o isa itong religious gathering para humingi ng tulong sa Poong Maykapal para gumaling ang mga nagka-COVID at matapos na ang pandemyang ito, pero hindi eh (We cannot just let this pass. We can accept if the violation stemmed from the efforts of the people to get food for their families or a religious activity to pray for the recovery of the infected and the end of the pandemic. But it was not, ” said Eleazar.
“Daan-daan kayong nag-good time sa gitna ng pandemya sa isang lugar na under MECQ at isinama niyo pa ang mga anak ninyo. Kung hahayaan lang natin na sorry sorry lang ito, it will send a wrong message na mag-violate na lang tayo nang mag-violate dahil anyway patatawarin din naman tayo at walang pananagutan sa ginawa natin (Hundreds of them went on a swimming activity in the middle of the pandemic and in an areas under MECQ, and they even tag along their children. If we would just allow them to get off the hook by just saying sorry, it will send a wrong message that we can always violate because they will just be forgiven later)” he added.
The Philippines recorded an upsurge of cases since middle of March this year, prompting President Duterte to approve the recommendation to place Metro Manila and four adjacent provinces of Bulacan, Laguna, Rizal and Cavite under stricter quarantine measures.
Health workers have been also appealing for the people to be serious in observing minimum health safety protocol as health facilities have been experiencing full capacity and that nurses and medical frontliners have to go on overtime to meet the demands for more health care workers.
Eleazar also emphasized that some of those who went to the Gubat sa Ciudad were reported to have expressed anger on a cameraman of a television network that went to the area to shoot as they were being led out of the resort. Some of them, according to him, even beat up the cameraman.
“With what they did to the cameraman, nasaan ang immediate reflection dito na mali ang ginawa nilang pagtitipon para mag-swimming eh nagalit pa nga sila nung mabuko ang kanilang maling ginawa (where was the acknowledgment of their mistake of going to the area when they even went mad after their violation was reported,” said Eleazar.
The Chief PNP said that they will file a case against the owner of the resort and the barangay captain in connection with the incident.
He then reiterated his appeal to the Filipino people to respect and observe the health safety protocol in order to effectively fight the spread of the coronavirus.
“Buhay at kaligtasan ng bawat isa sa atin ang nakataya dito sa tuwing may lumalabag sa guidelines at hindi sumusunod sa minimum health safety standards. Hindi natin dapat maliitin ang hirap at dusa na dulot ng pagkakahawa sa Covid-19 at lalong huwag nating balewalain ang matinding sakripisyo ng ating mga health workers,” PGEN Eleazar appealed to the public The life and safety of every Filipino is at stake everytime there would be violations of the guideline. We should not belittle the sacrifices due to COVID-19 and we should not take for granted the sacrifices of our health workers,” said Eleazar.