Children who may be spotted in mass gatherings such as pool parties won’t be arrested but will simply be sent home, President Duterte declared Monday amid the government’s movement curbs to stem the coronavirus spread.
The parents, instead, should be apprehended in case of involvement in the breach of quarantine protocols, according to President.
Duterte made the statement after reminding barangay captains to strictly enforce quarantine rules, including the ban on mass gatherings, and tap the police to assist in the arrest of violators amid concerns about possible “super spreader” events.
“Now ngayon, hindi mo mahuli lahat ‘yan. Alam mo kasi nakita mo sa swimming pool may mga bata. Ang bata hindi mo talaga maaresto (You cannot arrest them all. You may see children in the swimming pool. You cannot arrest a child). You have to — we’ll just have to pick them up from the swimming pool and send them home,” the President said during a televised address Monday, May 31.
“Ngayon ang mga nanay pati tatay, ‘yon ang puwede (Now the mother and father, they can be arrested) but a child under nine cannot be arrested or whatever. They cannot commit a crime kasi ang batas presumes that they have no sufficient discretion to commit a wrong in the eyes of the law,” he added.
Authorities must also arrest the owner of the resort involved in any violation of the quarantine regulations, according to the President.
He told barangay captains that they will be held accountable for dereliction of duty if they allow mass gatherings in their communities.
“Ngayon, ‘pag nagpalpak ‘yan hindi mo nakontrol (Now if you cannot control it) and there is — or there are celebrations everywhere and constituting a violation of the law, social distancing kagaya noong sa swimming pool, you arrest,” he said.
“The barangay captain should arrest the owner of the resort allowing people in numbers to be together in the swimming pool and enjoying — well, they are enjoying but at the same time violating the law,” he added.
In his public address last week, the President directed cops to arrest barangay captains first if there will be mass gatherings in their areas of jurisdictions. He said these local officials could face charges of dereliction of duty for failing to enforce the law.
As part of the community quarantine rules, the government has restricted large gatherings except for those related to government services, humanitarian missions, and religious activities at limited venue capacity.
The President’s directive came after authorities reported a rise in mass gatherings, including pool parties and picnics. Some social events have reportedly led to the infection of several people.