PHILIPPINE National Police chief, General Archie Francisco F. Gamboa yesterday ordered the entire police force to further step-up their foot and mobile patrols to prevent the possibility that some people affected by the enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila and the rest of the country will resort to looting.
The PNP chief particularly instructed National Capital Region Police Office director, Major General Debold M. Sinas to ensure that groceries, factories and warehouses with food stuff and other basic needs will be fully secured to preempt possible looting by hungry people.
The order was given amid information that poor people including transport drivers who have no more money and no means to feed their families would resort to looting and raid groceries and stores as well as factories and warehouses.
Gen. Gamboa instructed his men to preempt such possibility by conducting more foot and mobile patrols and seeing to it that loiterers and motorcycle-riding individuals would be accosted. This amid calls from some individuals for the PNP leadership to farm out their troops to discourage any looting and violence that may be undertaken by people who are hungry and scared.
The PNP has laid out a series of elaborate plans to secure the country in the aftermath of the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon and the rest of the country. Part of it is the monitoring of incidents of profiteering, panic-buying, hoarding and looting and fully securing critical areas such as food supply chains, food hubs, warehouses, main supply routes, banks and delivery of services.
Sinas said that in Metro Manila, they have likewise intensified their anti-criminality campaign and monitoring of plans and activities of organized crime groups and other lawless elements.
The PNP is guarding against the possibility of mass actions and violent actions from people whose movement is being restricted to prevent the spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus.
This is part of their effort to preserve peace and order in the country, said the NCRPO director.
Sinas has also ordered the strict enforcement of all city and municipal ordinances specifically drinking, gambling and smoking in public and the curfew hours as part of their ‘social distancing’ program.
Since the week started, dozens of people drinking in public have been apprehended by NCRPO agents and are still waiting for inquest fiscals who will rule on their cases.
He also called on the public to avoid spreading ‘fake news’ about the COVID-19 virus and its ensuing effect on peace and order saying the act is punishable by law.