EQUIPPED with protective masks and batons and airing COVID-19 messages thru their megaphones or portable Public Address System, Social Distancing Teams from the National Capital Region Police Office are now patrolling Metro Manila which remains to be the center of all quarantine violations since last March 17, the Journal Group was told yesterday.
“We already have our Social Distancing Teams whose main purpose is not only to patrol the streets but also to ensure that there will be real social distancing in places of heavy convergence in the metropolis,” said NCRPO director, Major General Debold M. Sinas.
Sinas last week ordered all Metro Manila police stations to create social distancing patrol teams that will ensure order in places of heavy convergence specifically public markets, groceries, remittance centers, banks and drug stores in the metropolis.
The NCRPO director said each patrol team from the numbered stations of the Quezon City Police District and the Manila Police District as well as the other police stations of the Northern, Southern and Eastern Police Districts will be composed of two to four uniformed officers.
“Members of the team will also be equipped with sticks as they patrol markets and other public places in Metro Manila to ensure that people will observe physical distancing and wear face masks as part of the government measure to prevent the further spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus,” said Sinas.
The NCRPO Social Distancing Teams were created amid complaints that market-goers are ignoring the social distancing measure while others including those who have received financial package from the government are using the money to engage in drinking and illegal gambling including ‘tupada’ sessions.
“We are intensifying our presence on the streets to remind the general public on the proper observance and strict implementation of social distancing to preempt the spread of COVID-19,” Sinas told the Journal Group.
The official likewise reiterated his directive to all Metro Manila policemen manning Quarantine Control Points in the metropolis not to allow passage to Unauthorized Persons Outside of Residence or UPORs.
Apart from that, Sinas ordered his QCP personnel to continue checking the temperature and identification cards of motorists and travellers passing thru their control points and see to it that unauthorized persons and those with high temperature will be checked and investigated.
“We should only allow Authorized Persons Outside of Residence, not these UPORs who must be taught a hard lesson for violating the quarantine measure,” Sinas said as he stressed that the Enhanced Community Quarantine in the metropolis must be enforced to the hilt even if it causes inconvenience to the public including motorists.
Sinas also ordered NCRPO Red Teams and the NCRPO Regional Internal Affairs Service to continue their conduct of on-the-spot inspections of QCPs to monitor possible negligence and other infractions being committed by their personnel.
The move was made amid observations that some soldiers and policemen manning QCPs in some parts of Metro Manila are no longer taking the temperature of motorists and other passersby in their areas.
Agents of the Philippine National Police Highway Patrol Group and the Metro Manila Development Authority as of yesterday have issued traffic citation tickets to more than 70 drivers on EDSA found violating the home quarantine and social distancing measures.
PNP-HPG director, Brigadier General Eliseo DC Cruz has ordered his men to be very strict in enforcing the home quarantine and social distancing rules on private vehicles.