HEAVILY-ARMED policemen and soldiers equipped with temperature scanners yesterday started enforcing the massive community quarantine in Metro Manila conducting ID checks on people leaving and entering the metropolis as part of the government’s effort to help prevent the spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus.
Hundreds of checkpoints were put up at roads leading to and from Metro Manila during the first day of the community quarantine as thousands of personnel from the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces intensified their efforts with instructions to be more lenient in checking the identification cards of the people and verifying their purpose of passing through the security checks.
Security troops also started enforcing curfew from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. to limit non-essential movement during the month-long community quarantine of the National Capital Region as ordered by President Duterte to prevent further spread of the novel virus.
However, workers and those involved in essential services will be exempted from the curfew. Residents will also be allowed to go out if they are getting groceries, food or medicines.
“The bottomline is people are advised to stay home. Kung wala kang gagawin, just stay home,” said Local Government Secretary Eduardo M. Año.
National Capital Region Police Office director Major General Debold M. Sinas said they will fully enforce the presidential order and “arrest” people who will violate the community quarantine guidelines.
Those who will violate the established quarantine procedures will be arrested and charged for violation of the Quarantine Law. He added that they are also looking into other provisions of the Revised Penal Code that can be applied against perennial violators.
Sinas said that they also have to protect their officers in lieu of the fact that they would be dealing too with possible COVID-19 carriers. He cited the case of some members of San Juan City police who went after a COVID-19 patient who fled in her car while being accosted to be taken a hospital. The San Juan City policemen had to undergo a 14-day self-quarantine at the police station.
“Hindi naman po dadamputin ang mga violators. Pagsasabihan lang na umuwi na kayo kung hindi importante ang lakad ninyo,” the official said even as he urged business establishments such as shopping to close early to limit the movement of people during the quarantine period.
Meanwhile, Philippine National Police director General Archie Francisco F. Gamboa also ordered all its personnel to bring their PNP Identification Card, Office ID and Letter Order for their PNP-issued firearms.
PNP Director for Personnel and Records Management director Major Gen. Reynaldo B. Biay said police personnel are required to be in possession of these documents to ensure passage during the implementation of the community quarantine that started Sunday midnight.
Biay said that the PNP Headquarters Support Service will also provide IDs and Certification to all Non-PNP personnel and other civilians who work inside the camp.
Manila, Caloocan pass ordinance for curfew
Manila Mayor Isko Moreno yesterday said an ordinance had been passed for the implementation of nine-hour curfew in Manila.
He thanked the Manila City Council headed by Vice Mayor and Presiding Officer Honey Lacuna for passing the ordinance during a special session.
Any violator of the ordinance faces a P5,000 fine or one month imprisonment.
Moreno said those who need to be out after 8 p.m. because of their work were advised to bring their ID or a letter from their HR department.
In Caloocan, the city council will convene in a special session today to pass a curfew ordinance.
Mayor Oscar Malapitan said the Metro Manila Council (MMC) on Saturday unanimously agreed to a resolution to pass a curfew ordinance that will be implemented during the quarantine period.
Earlier, Mayor Oca deployed a group of Disinfection Team from the City Environmental Management Department (CEMD) to public transport terminals and auditoriums. With Jerry S. Tan and Edd Reyes