Joint Task Force (JTF) Covid Shield commander Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar (File photo)

MANILA – Violators of the quarantine protocols monitored through social media will not be arrested, Joint Task Force (JTF) Covid Shield commander Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar clarified on Monday.

In a press briefing, Eleazar said viral quarantine violations like parties and drinking sessions will serve as a “basis for further investigation”.

“Wala kaming aarestuhin dito (None will be arrested here). It will serve as a basis for further investigation but first it has to be validated. Possible kasi fake lang ‘yan eh. So, kung na-validate natin, then we will also get the cooperation of the barangays para imbestigahan natin siya (It’s possible the online post is fake. So, once validated, then we will also get the cooperation of the barangays to investigate),” Eleazar said.

He assured the public that policemen would respect the privacy of every individual in monitoring quarantine violations shared online.

Eleazar said authorities will only verify viral or public videos and photos of quarantine protocol violations captured by closed circuit television (CCTVs) and dash cams.

“The social media are full of photos and evidence of hardheaded people deliberately violating the quarantine protocols. These can be used as pieces of evidence to warn, to fine, and to summon the people concerned in coordination with the barangay officials,” Eleazar said

Eleazar said government officials and prominent personalities are not exempted from the PNP’s plan to monitor social media for possible quarantine violations.

“Huwag matakot ang ating mga kababayan kasi alam ninyo, ang natatarget dito, in fact mga prominent individuals and government officials. Bakit? Dahil sila ay madaling maidentify, nagba-viral sila… at the same time, sila kasi dapat ang nangunguna dito kaya wala dapat ikabahala ang ating mga kababayan (You have nothing to fear. Our target here, in fact, are prominent individuals and government officials. Why? Because they can be easily identified, they become viral in social media. At the same time, they are the ones who should follow the protocols. So, you have nothing to worry),” he said.

In fact, Eleazar said the JTF Covid Shield is empowering everyone to give information.

For his part, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, Gen. Camilo Pancratius Cascolan, said the JTF’s plan would also instill social responsibility among the public.

“Social responsibility ang sinasabi diyan. Kapag umabuso ka naman hindi naman maganda hindi ba (It is social responsibility. It’s no good to abuse your power),” Cascolan said.

Cascolan also said the measure will not lead to violation on human rights for as long as there is no abuse on the part of law enforcers.

Eleazar said netizens have been posting complaints about some violations of minimum health safety standard protocols, including mass gatherings like drinking sessions as well as other forms of prohibited celebration amid the pandemic.

He said individuals who will be caught engaging in drinking sessions may face additional charges especially if there is an existing liquor ban in their respective communities.

Eleazar also appealed to the netizens to assist the PNP in running after violations of quarantine protocols, even if those involved are policemen. (PNA)