DILG deploys more cops to public markets
CALOOCAN CITY, April 13 (PIA) — Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo M. Año has deployed additional police officers and force multipliers to public markets in Metro Manila and other urban centers across the country to strictly implement the prohibition on mass gatherings and enforce physical distancing.
Following numerous violations of stringent enhanced community quarantine measures, Año said that it is unfortunate that many Filipinos still violate COVID-19 measures “as if they do not know the gravity of the situation” pushing the national government to impose stricter policies for the protection of the general population. One of these marketplaces, reportedly having shoppers violating social distancing measures is the Balintawak market in Quezon City.
“Thousands, for example, have been apprehended for breaking the curfew. Hindi po ito makatutulong sa ating paglabanan sa COVID-19 pandemic kaya mas magiging mahigpit po tayo ngayon. If we allow these people to continue violating the ECQ and physical distancing protocols, our gains in the past three weeks will go to waste,” he added.
Based on the latest data of Philippine National Police (PNP), 108,088 individuals were apprehended nationwide for violating ECQ protocols. Of this number, 76,989 were warned and 4,969 were fined while 5,539 were subject to inquest before a Prosecutor while 20,591 were released pending the filing of cases with the DOJ.
The DILG chief said in coordination with Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, security forces are now implementing a limited number of entrance and exits in public markets in order “to limit the people within the tight spaces of the markets and maintain the required physical distancing measures.”
“Members of the PNP and the AFP will work closely with the LGUs in supervising the entry and exit of people inside the public markets. Kaya po pakiusap din po sa ating mga kababayan, konting Disiplina Muna, makiisa po tayo,” he said.
He also directed the joint PNP-AFP teams to patrol the markets and other areas where people gather such as money changers, pharmacies, and supermarkets.
“These physical distancing teams will be crucial in ensuring the people are apart from each other as they do their shopping.” He said that the joint PNP-AFP teams in the public markets would conduct roving patrols to ensure that those inside maintain physical distancing.
He also characterized alleged government plans to close all public markets as fake news.
“Linggo-linggo na lang ganyan ang pinapakalat nila. Wala po ‘yang katotohanan. ‘Wag nyo na pong ikalat yan dahil fake news yan,” he said.
Año says that it has been noticed that the lockdown and physical distancing that have been implemented by the national government in response to the COVID-19 crisis “were deliberately violated by residents who either have a quarantine pass and use it to loiter or those who do not and are just hard-headed.”
He likewise enjoins LGUs and the PNP to direct people who do not have essential undertakings to go back to their homes. “Kapag walang importanteng gagawin sa labas, pauwiin sa kanilang mga bahay.” (PIA NCR)