MANILA – Joint Task Force Covid Shield commander, Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar on Sunday said the Philippine National Police (PNP) will intensify police visibility as more areas under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) are expected to be relegated to general community quarantine (GCQ) after May 15.
Eleazar said the increased presence of police personnel aims to thwart criminal threats that are expected to surge under new normal or less-stringent GCQ.
“Under GCQ, more establishments will be allowed to operate because our economy will be partially opened. This means that more people would be allowed to go out. So, our police visibility would be in these areas in order to strictly implement the basic rules such as wearing of face masks and physical distancing,” Eleazar said in a statement.
While the quarantine control points (QCPs) and dedicated control points (DCPs) will remain under GCQ, Eleazar said the PNP would likely ease the strict measures since doing so would cause monstrous traffic jams.
Instead, he said what would be intensified are mobile checkpoints and random checking of private vehicles by personnel of the Highway Patrol Group (HPG) who are also expected to deploy motorcycle-riding officers.
Aside from the implementation of the measures against the spread of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), Eleazar said policemen and soldiers who would be tapped for visibility will also be on the lookout for criminal elements.
He explained that with more people engaging again in economic activities, this may encourage criminal elements to prey on their victims.
Eleazar said what the PNP chief Archie Gamboa wants to sustain is the reduction in criminal activities since the ECQ was implemented on March 17.
Based on the PNP data, at least 61 percent decline in crime volume was recorded nationwide in the past 54 days of the implementation of the ECQ, compared to the 54 days before the ECQ was implemented on March 17.
The biggest decline was noted in Luzon with 67 percent, followed by Visayas with 58 percent and Mindanao with 51 percent.
Before the ECQ implementation, the average cases in eight focus crimes was 150 a day. It went down to just 88 on March 17 and in the past 54 days of ECQ implementation, the average was at 59.
Eleazar said the PNP only recorded 32 cases of focus crimes nationwide on Saturday (May 9).
The eight focused crimes are murder, homicide, physical injury, robbery, theft, carjacking, carnapping of motorcycle, and rape. The PNP considers the eight focus crimes as accurate indicators of the crime situation in the country.
“The challenge now is how to sustain it. So, our kababayans should expect continuous stricter measures such curfew during nighttime because this measure is not only to prevent the spread of Covid-19 but also as our preventive measure against criminal elements,” he said. “We ask the public to gradually accept the fact that these strict measures are the new normal in terms of peace and order under the time of this pandemic.”
On Friday, Eleazar and Maj. Gen. Emmanuel Luis Licup, director of the PNP Directorate for Operations, inspected some areas near the boundary of Region 1 and Region 3 to observe the implementation of the GCQ.
Areas still under ECQ which will end on May 15 are Metro Manila; Central Luzon, except Aurora; Calabarzon; Benguet; Pangasinan; Iloilo province; Cebu province; Bacolod City; Albay; Zamboanga City and Davao City. (IA/PNA)