Regions 5, 12 crimes down amid quarantine drive

CRIME in Bicol and Socksargen regions have significantly gone down since the strict enforcement of the enhanced community quarantine, a report to Philippine National Police chief General Archie Francisco F. Gamboa said.

Police Regional Office 5 director Brigadier General Anthony S. Alcañeses said  they have already recorded an 84.31 percent crime reduction in the entire Bicol region from March 17 up to yesterday in the wake of a number of strict measures they implemented to help prevent the spread of the deadly COVID-19.

Alcañeses said from March 17 to 21, they recorded only eight crime incidents in the entire region or an 84.31 percent reduction from the 51 incidents recorded during the same period in 2019. The crime incidents include two rape cases in Albay and Masbate, one homicide and four physical injury cases in Camarines Sur and a  theft case in Naga City.

The Bicol police director attributed the downtrend in crime to the strict implementation of the quarantine and nonstop anti-crime operations by the local police to preempt criminals to take advantage of the present situation.

Alcañeses said  during the period, his men also apprehended 13 individuals for violating the quarantine rule and ignoring orders to return home. The 13 were charged for resisting arrest and disobedience to a lawful order from an officer.

The official said he has ordered the investigation of a policeman in Masbate City who was reportedly under the influence of liquor when he refused to be subjected to quarantine rules being imposed by local barangay officials.

Meanwhile, PRO12 director Brig. Gen. Alfred S. Corpus said  from March 1 to 22, they have recorded a 64.29 percent reduction on “focused” crimes in the region such as murder, homicide, robbery, theft, physical injury,  motor vehicle and motorcycle theft and rape compared to the same period last year.

“We are on regular duty, tuloy-tuloy pa rin yung ating campaign against criminality at mayroon tayong intensified checkpoint,” the official assured local residents.

Corpus said checkpoints have been established at borders and entry points in the region to prevent entry of unauthorized persons and help prevent the spread of the virus.

“Only essential travels such as travels by reason of transport of basic necessities, for work, medical emergencies and government functions; provided that in case of land travel, one driver and one helper of cargo trucks/vehicles shall be allowed and in case of cargo planes and vessels, no passengers are allowed,” the official said.

Corpus  reiterated that there will be strict implementation of the lockdown in the region with only vehicles carrying basic commodities including medical supplies and food and water being allowed to enter the region.

He has ordered the arrest of any person  who will not comply and cooperate with police officers manning the checkpoints.

“They can be arrested and charged with Article 151 or Article 148 of the Revised Penal Code and also they can be arrested for violation of Executive Orders related to preventing the spread of COVID-19,” Corpus said.

He also reminded the people of Socskargen --  South Cotabato, Sarangani, Sultan Kudarat and General Santos City -- to remain in their homes to help the government prevent the spread of the virus.

“The best way for the people to contribute in this global health concern is to adhere to the policies, cooperate with the government, and remain at home until further announcements are made,” he said.

The National Capital Region Police Office headed by Major Gen. Debold M. Sinas, the PRO3 in Central Luzon under Brig. Gen. Rhodel O. Sermonia and the PRO4-A in Calabarzon region headed by Brig. Gen. Vicente D. Danao Jr. have also recorded huge crime reduction since the lockdown period.

Gamboa has strictly ordered his men to fully implement the ban on drinking and loitering in public as well as the curfew hours as part of the “social distancing” measures imposed by the government.