MANILA – Following a 61-percent reduction of crime incidents during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) period, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has directed the Philippine National Police (PNP) to maintain consistency and vigilance in enforcing the law as a vast portion of the country would soon transition to general community quarantine (GCQ).
Interior Secretary Eduardo M. Año said the PNP should not relax despite the 61-percent decrease in crime incidence.
Instead, Año said, it should continue its strict implementation of quarantine protocols “as people might see the lifting of ECQ in some areas as an opportunity to go back to normal and begin committing crimes.”
“Tiyak na babalik muli ang mga kriminal pag GCQ na dahil magpapanggap sila na papasok kuno sa trabaho. Kaya paalala ko sa ating kapulisan na maghigpit sa mga checkpoints at dalasan ang pagroronda para masawata ang mga kawatan (Criminals will surely return once the GCQ starts and they would pretend to be employees reporting for work. So I am reminding our police officers to tighten checkpoints and conduct more patrols to curb these unscrupulous people),” he said in a news release issued on Wednesday.
Año said the presence of PNP checkpoints and the issuance of quarantine passes by LGUs would continue during the GCQ because movement would still be limited and only those allowed to work in permitted industries and access essential services are allowed to leave their residences.
Under the GCQ, quarantine measures will still be imposed for persons below 21 years old; persons 60 years old and above; persons who are immunocompromised; pregnant women; and people who reside with these individuals. However, senior citizens who are working or will go out to access essential services will be exempt from the home quarantine.
“Mas matindi ang inaasahang pagpapairal ng batas sa panahon ng GCQ dahil nariyan pa rin ang banta ng coronavirus at samahan pa ng mga masasamang-loob na wala rin namang pinipiling panahon at krisis (Expect tighter law enforcement during the GCQ period because the coronavirus threat stays, along with the threat of criminals who persist even in times of crisis). So, the use of face masks and social distancing in public must be observed, ” he explained.
Año said the PNP’s steady implementation of peace and order protocols during the ECQ from March 17 to May 9 led to only 3,166 crimes committed nationwide.
He said the figure is a far cry from the 8,135 cases reported from January 23 to March 16, the days leading to the implementation of the ECQ in Luzon.
“The 61 percent decrease in crime volume within March 17 to May 9, 2020, with a total of 3,166, must be maintained by the PNP even under GCQ,” Año said.
During the ECQ, 865 incidents of theft were recorded. The figure is much lower than the 2,752 incidents reported in the months before the ECQ. The same pattern was observed in other crimes, such as murder, homicide, physical injury, and rape, among others.
Meanwhile, curfew violations and disobedience numbered 167,278 from March 17 to May 9. The majority of these cases occurred in Luzon with 106,926, followed by Mindanao with 30,533, and the Visayas with 29,819.
Año said 105,445, or 63 percent of the total number of curfew violators, were just warned while 47,257, or 28 percent, were detained but the majority were released on bail after having been subjected to inquest proceedings, and 14,576, or 9 percent, were fined. (ia/DILG)