Cebu City assigned more police for ECQ

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    PNP chief Archie Gamboa yesterday ordered the deployment of 100 cops to the Central Visayas region to help enforce strict quarantine measures in Cebu City.

    Cebu City has been placed under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) due to the spike in COVID-19 cases in the area.

    Gamboa said 50 cops were tapped from the Western Visayas Police Regional Office and another 50 will come from the Eastern Visayas Police Regional Office for assignments in Cebu City upon the recommendation of Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, the deputy PNP chief for operations and concurrent Joint Task Force COVID-19 commander.

    Gamboa said he has instructed regional health services of the two regional police offices to ensure that all cops to be deployed have undergone the requisite health checks prior to their departure from their home regions.

    Eleazar said all the newly-deployed policemen will be assigned as frontliners who will supervise and man checkpoints, conduct regular patrols to enforce minimum health safety protocols such as the wearing of face masks and observance of physical distancing.

    “We need to have a unified front to effectively enforce the quarantine rules. As among the frontliners, the police should really work together in coordination with other frontliners and the people we protect,” Eleazar said.

    DISCIPLINARY ACTIONS

    The Department of Interior and Local Government said it has recommended to the Office of Ombudsman the imposition of disciplinary actions against 20 barangay officials from Metro Manila for various violations of community quarantine protocols.

    “We want to send a message to the stubborn barangay officials that the DILG will not tolerate any violation of ECQ (enhanced community quarantine) protocols,” Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said yesterday.

    “As government officials, we should take the lead in following the law and not in breaking it,” Año also said.

    The 20 barangay officials are composed of the following: five each from Quezon City and Caloocan City, two from Paranaque, and one each from the cities of Mandaluyong, Las Piñas, Manila, Makati, Pasay, Taguig, Marikina, and Muntinlupa.

    Año said the DILG is not going to spare anyone found violating quarantine protocols, and said his agency continues to entertain complaints against local government officials, including barangay leaders.

    DILG undersecretary for barangay affairs Martin Diño endorsed the disciplinary actions against the erring 20 barangay officials through a June 16 letter to Ombudsman Samuel Martires.

    The 20 barangay executives were initially given show cause orders by the DILG for the quarantine violations in their areas.

    Diño said the response of the officials were insufficient, thus the need to recommend disciplinary actions against them before the Ombudsman pursuant to Republic Act 6770 or the Ombudsman Act of 1989.

    Diño said the offenses of the barangay officials includes failure to enforce physical distancing, operation of cockfighting and gambling, allowing children to go in the streets despite the community quarantine, negligence and gross neglect of duty.

    The official said more than a hundred cases are still being investigated by his office.

    The ECQ-related investigation against the barangay officials is separate from the probe initiated by the PNP against barangay leaders involved in supposed irregularities in the distribution of the first tranche of the emergency cash assistance under the Social Amelioration Program.

    The PNP-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group has filed charges against 397 barangay officials throughout the country in connection with the SAP assistance distribution as of June 16. – With Victor Reyes