Gamboa tells commanders anew: No more warning for ECQ offenders

PHILIPPINE National Police chief, General Archie Francisco F. Gamboa yesterday reminded his men to ensure that all violators of the Enhanced Community Quarantine won’t be given another chance but instead be apprehended and charged in court.

He particularly called the attention of all field commanders regarding observations that quarantine protocols including the mandatory wearing of face masks and social distancing are not being observed usually on weekends specifically in public markets and supermarkets.

The PNP chief specifically told all 17 Police Regional Directors and their Provincial and City Directors and Municipal Police Station commanders and chiefs of police to ensure that all ECQ protocols will be fully implemented in Quarantine Control Points.

At the same time, PNP Director for Operations, Major Gen. Emmanuel Luis D. Licup reminded the 17 Regional Directors and the directors of the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group and PNP Highway Patrol Group to see to it that ECQ violators will be apprehended and charged for violation of Republic Acts 11469, 11332 and Article 151 of the Revised Penal Code.

Licup issued the reminder saying that despite the recent issuance of a memorandum from Gen. Gamboa, they are still receiving reports from the field that ECQ violators re merely being warned by lower units, not charged and arrested.

Records provided by Joint Task Force COVID Shield commander, Lieutenant Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar said from March 17 to last Friday, a total of 145,940 ECQ violators have been apprehended  although 103,781 of them or 71.11 percent of the total were merely warned by apprehending officers.

Another 6,889 were fined while 35,270 are now facing charges in court, Eleazar said. The official said that 8,072 of the offenders are still being held in police lock-up facilities for various ECQ offenses specifically resisting arrest and disobedience to agents of a person in authority, hoarding and profiteering and drinking in public.

Gamboa creates body to plan GCQ, extended ECQ

The PNP chief also said in response to the latest developments in government’s action on COVID-19, he ordered the creation on Friday of a top-level PNP study group that will draw-up plans for PNP actions to implement the General Community Quarantine and extended Enhanced Community Quarantine in some areas identified by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infection Diseases.

He designated PNP Chief of Directorial Staff, Lt. Gen. Cesar Hawthorne R. Binag to head the study group that will craft a new Memorandum Circular that will strategize police operations and administration in response to the extension of ECQ in Metro Manila, Central Luzon, Calabarzon and selected provinces and cities.

“This PNP strategic think tank is also tasked to map-out PNP courses of action for all other areas under General Community Quarantine which is now the “new normal,” he added.

“In the succeeding days onward the extension of ECQ until May 15th, we can expect better and seamless cohesion among operations of PNP frontline and back-end support units toward the accomplishment of the mission given by the national government.