Quarantine violators cut by half after deployment of SAF, soldiers
The number of violators of the quarantine measures has been reduced by almost half after the deployment of commandos of the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (SAF) and soldiers in areas tagged as hotspots for Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) violations, the Joint Task Force (JTF) COVID Shield commander said on Sunday.
In a statement, Police Lieutenant General Guillermo Eleazar said the presence of fully armed SAF members and soldiers, including armored personnel carriers, on the streets of Metro Manila and nearby areas were felt starting April 21.
Based on the task force's record, a total of 3,314 violators were reported on April 21 across the country while the figure fell to 3,306 on the following day.
On April 23, the task force recorded a steep decline as only 1,585 violators were reported across the country.
For Luzon, there were 2,313 violators reported on April 22 but the figure went down to more than a half, or only 1,152 violators the next day.
Eleazar said the reduction was mostly recorded in Luzon where most SAF commandos and soldiers have been deployed.
Since April 23 up to April 25, the number of violators did not breach the 2,000 mark, with only 1,488 violators on April 24 and 1,811 on April 25.
“We attribute this significant decrease in the number of violators recorded in the past few days to stricter implementation of the ECQ Guideline through the deployment of our SAF troopers and soldiers and also when our HPG (Highway Patrol Group) personnel started running after private vehicles,” the police official said.
“We are monitoring the situation on the ground on a daily basis in order to make immediate and necessary security adjustments in any area where any increase of ECQ violators were monitored,” he added.
Following the directive of PNP chief General Archie Francisco Gamboa, the JTF commander said the policemen are now immediately arresting and charging the quarantine violators.
Eleazar said since Friday all the violators were either arrested or fined.
From Friday to Saturday, of the total 3,299 violators reported, 2,231 of them were arrested and charged while 1,068 were fined.
Earlier, Eleazar explained that the reason why some violators were fined was because some of the ordinances passed by the local government units (LGUs) prefer imposing fine than filing of charges, especially for first time offenders.
In the provinces, more policemen and soldiers were also tapped to secure various communities where number of violations was high based on the comparative data being sent daily by local police commanders.
Meanwhile, in a radio interview, Colonel Ramon Zagala, Army’s Public Affairs Office chief, said around 12,600 soldiers have been deployed nationwide to help the PNP in enforcing the ECQ.
“This is until April 30 but since they extend it, this will be up to mid of May,” Zagala said. Ella Dionisio/DMS