MANILA – The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Tuesday asked local government units (LGU) to comply with the uniform rules on home quarantine crafted by the Joint Task Force Corona Virus (CV) Shield, especially in ensuring smooth travel of cargoes and other vehicles delivering food and other basic needs.
Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, deputy chief for operations of the Philippine National Police (PNP), made the call after citing reports that some local government units intercept cargo trucks and other vehicles delivering basic necessities to various areas, particularly in Luzon.
“This is actually a minor challenge that we are facing because probably due to the desire of some local government units to implement stricter rules, in a sense they are going against the basic guidelines,” Eleazar said in a Laging Handa briefing aired over state-run PTV.
Various areas in the Visayas and Mindanao are already implementing a lockdown in a bid to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
The JTF CV Shield, headed by Eleazar, is the implementing arm of the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases which was earlier formed to help contain the spread of the Corona Virus Disease (Covid-19) in the country.
He said the guidelines crafted by the JTF CV Shield clearly states that the travel of the cargoes from one town or city to another should be unhampered to prevent a shortage of food and other basic supplies during the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine.
“Our Chief PNP (Gen. Archie Gamboa) has been very specific that cargoes must move freely. He has been giving orders to address the problems that would come up in the implementation of the rules,” said Eleazar.
Eleazar said the problem usually arises since some local government units are crafting their own guidelines while some barangay officials are implementing their own rules.
To address this problem, the JTF CV Shield is now coordinating with all police regional directors down to the city and municipal police chiefs for the cascading of the simplified rules on how the quarantine must be implemented.
Eleazar also reminded local government units about the statements of President Duterte and Interior Secretary Eduardo Ano to respect the decision of the IATF on all Covid-19-related measures.
Eleazar said the JTF CV Shield is regularly publishing an updated list of those who are exempted from home quarantine
“We are regularly meeting for any changes and updates on the rules so it is incumbent upon them to use our guidelines because it is the JTF CV Shield which implements the quarantine control points,” said Eleazar.
Eleazar emphasized the need to have a uniform rule on home quarantine and exemptions in order to avoid confusion not only from the public but also to the government personnel implementing them.
Since mayors and governors have police power, there were cases that they are ordering the police to implement their own rules, which to some extent are inconsistent with the one crafted by the JTF CV Shield.
But Eleazar said they have been monitoring improvements on the implementation since the Luzon-wide Enhanced Community Quarantine was implemented.
Meanwhile, Gamboa said the PNP vowed to intensify and continuously implement law enforcement operations targeting local ordinance violators, especially minors who will be caught violating quarantine rules to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.
He said that after seven days, the PNP continues to apprehend people violating the strict home quarantine in public areas.
“We pressed charges against the violators. In the case of minors, they were segregated from the adults and were turned over to their parents/guardians. If in cases there were no guardian or parents to fetch them, they will be turned over to local social welfare officer,” Gamboa said in a statement sent to reporters.
He also reminded the parents to look after their children particularly minors which are among those who violate the home quarantine.
“To the parents, please see to it that your children, especially minors to stay at home with you. Go out only if necessary for emergencies or health-related reasons but only one person is allowed to go outside. Help us to win this fight, cooperation is a must. Save your life, save our front liners’ lives. Stay at home,” Gamboa said.
As stated, violators of the enhanced community quarantine may be arrested and charged under Article 151 of the Revised Penal Code and Republic Act 11332 (Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health concern Act) considering the gravity of the present situation.
Meanwhile, Gamboa said that 8 to 12 hours of duty was enough so that policemen could have time to tidy themselves and take a rest.
Food, masks, and gloves were also delivered to police officers deployed in checkpoints.
Eleazar said they are also regularly monitoring the health condition of their personnel, especially those deployed to conduct checkpoints and assigned at the border control points of each city and municipality.
“The guidance of our Chief PNP is for all our men to be distributed with adequate food, ensure that they are protected through protective gears, and regularly check their health condition because these are the most that we can do for their service to the Filipino people in this time of crisis,” he said. (ia/sovereignph.com/PNA)