MANILA – More police officers will be deployed in areas where violations of the enhanced community quarantine rules are rampant, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said Monday.
PNP chief, Gen. Archie Gamboa said they have identified the areas which are usually crowded despite the quarantine measures and well as the areas where violators will be held.
“We have already pinpointed these areas. I told (National Capital Region Police Office chief, Maj. Gen. Debold Sinas), that the main concern here is NCR and of course, Regions 3 and 4A (Calabarzon). We have determined areas that need additional police officers so that people will comply,” he said in a radio interview on Monday.
Gamboa said he ordered Sinas to prepare Camp Bagong Diwa as a holding area for violators.
“So all of these things are being prepared because we expect massive arrest kung hindi talaga susunod ‘yung mga tao (if the people will not follow),” he said.
Gamboa said they are also in close coordination with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) while they awaiting formal instructions from President Rodrigo Duterte on the stricter implementation of ECQ.
Police commanders were also instructed to make necessary preparations particularly in identifying places of convergence in their jurisdiction and formulating measures to ensure ECQ guidelines were being observed.
Gamboa said the police force supports President Duterte’s intention to “decisively enforce a total lockdown for the entire period” under the ECQ after the number of violators hit over 130,000 nationwide.
He said some local officials have agreed to impose tougher measures against the lawbreakers.
“Some violators feel they can get away with the enforcement of quarantine rules and local ordinances. I call on all regional directors to put action to the strong words of the President. I expect all of you to support this,” Gamboa said.
He also ordered a massive crackdown on illegal activities violating the physical distancing policy and gathering of persons such as illegal cockfight, card games, mahjong, and drinking sessions in public places.
Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año, meanwhile, said a total lockdown will be implemented in areas where there are rampant violations of the ECQ.
“We are not going to implement that in the whole country but only on those severely affected areas, we may do that…martial law-style in those areas where there are rampant violations of the lockdown,” Año said in a statement.
He said more soldiers and policemen will be deployed in those areas as “social distancing teams” whose mission is “to make sure that people stay home and will not violate the ECQ or the quarantine”.
“We are going to make sure that converging places like private and public wet markets are actually sealed off, both entry and exit, urban poor communities where houses are really (congested), people in crowded areas and community areas. We are going to put a lot of soldiers and (policemen),” Año said.
“There will be an additional presence of uniformed personnel and of course with the help of local government officials to ensure that people will stay home and violations are not permitted,” he added. (PNA)