Sinas: Foreigners not exempted from quarantine

NATIONAL Capital Region Police Office director, Major General Debold M. Sinas yesterday ordered his men to accost foreigners who continue to loiter outside their hotels in group in full violation of the enhanced community quarantine ordered by the Duterte government.

“I am ordering my men all over Metro Manila to accost foreigners in the streets and caution them that they should stay inside their residences or hotels since they are not excused or exempted from the quarantine rule. If they insist, these foreigners will be arrested and brought to the police station for disobedience and resistance to a lawful order from the authorities,” Sinas said.

The NCRPO chief issued the instruction amid reports that many foreigners are complaining that human rights are being violated because of the lockdown.

Reports particularly cited the presence of many foreigners at the Bonifacio Global Center in Taguig City who are either walking, biking and jogging in groups as if everything is normal.

Sinas said this must be stopped since nobody is immune to COVID-19. Philippine National Police chief, General Archie Francisco F. Gamboa earlier ordered all police units nationwide to ensure stringent social distancing measures in the country and prohibit mass gatherings, either planned or spontaneous.

Sinas vowed to order the arrest of people who will violate the ‘community quarantine’ program and charge them with violation of the quarantine law .

The NCRPO chief also called on Metro Manila residents to stay home and avoid places of convergence including bars and other entertainment places as much as possible to help prevent further spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus.

Already on full alert since last Thursday, the NCRPO is the main police unit fully enforcing the month-long ‘community quarantine’ and manning dozens of checkpoints in Metro Manila ordered put up by President Duterte as part of government measures to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Gen. Gamboa  also had called on the public to please bear with the temporary inconvenience they may encounter as police and military troops fully enforce the month-long ‘community quarantine’ in the metropolis.

The NCRPO and the Armed Forces under Gen. Felimon Santos Jr. also have started fully enforcing an 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew in the metropolis  since last Sunday as part of government measures to battle the virus.  However, workers and those involved in the provision of essential services as well as residents getting groceries, food or medicines are exempted from the curfew.

"The bottom line is people are advised to stay home. Kung wala kang gagawin, just stay home," said Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo M. Año.

Unlike government checkpoints which usually mushroom in every election period in the country, officers manning the checkpoints however will not only be sporting high-powered rifles but  most specifically are  wearing face masks and equipped with other body protection they need in case they really encounter a COVID-9 carrier.

However, they will be guided by previous strict checkpoint guidelines issued to prevent possible abuses as they prevent the unauthorized entry of people to and from the metropolis.

The PNP says that all checkpoints must be situated in well-lit areas, with signage identifying the police and military unit manning the checkpoint as well as the name and contact number of the election supervisor in the area.