ECQ violators will be arrested, PNP chief says
The chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) on Tuesday said violators of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) will not be warned but arrested and undergo inquest proceedings.
In a virtual press conference, Police General Archie Francisco Gamboa made the announcement as the number of ECQ violators continues to increase causing them to implement “stricter” enforcement.
“Foremost, there will be no more warning for ECQ violators-- instead arrest and inquest procedures will be applied to cases of violation of Republic Act No. 11469; Republic Act No. 11332; as well as Article 151 of the Revised Penal Code,” Gamboa said.
“These violations of law carry with it appropriate penalties and fines, but, what will be more burdensome for violators are the tedious judicial process and the implications of a derogatory record to their personal criminal profile,” he added.
Based on PNP’s latest figures on ECQ violators, from March 17 to April 20, 136,517 violators were recorded where 98,986 violators were warned; 6,168 were fined; 31,363 were arrested in which 2,467 are still detained with 24,248 cases filed.
Gamboa said 732 persons were arrested in hoarding, profiteering and manipulation of prices of basic goods, and 9,419 public utility vehicles drivers apprehended.
He said the highest number of violators in Metro Manila was recorded at Southern Police District (SPD) at 15, 475 followed by Northern Police District (NPD) with 7, 407.
There were around 2,000 violators in the Eastern Police District (EPD) and Quezon City Police District (QCPD) and 1, 714 in Manila Police District (MPD).
Gamboa said they are also experiencing problems in Davao City and Cebu City.
“But we have full trust and confidence in our regional directors there to do their part in coordination with other government agencies and local chief executives,” said Gamboa.
Gamboa said that he allowed the deployment of 116 Special Action Force (SAF)commandos in strategic locations to augment local PNP units in the intensified enforcement of ECQ.
Aside from violators, the strict enforcement of ECQ in Metro Manila, Central Luzon and Calabarzon (Cavite-Laguna-Batangas-Rizal-Quezon), including other localities, is due to the high number of COVID-19 cases in their areas.
“We should learn from the experience of other countries that prematurely relaxed the enforcement of their lockdown which caused a resurgence of infection,'' said Gamboa.
''So, please let us not be complacent and let us do this together correctly the first time and not regret having the surge of cases and deaths like what happened in countries severely hit by COVID-19,” Gamboa said. Ella Dionisio/DMS