DILG orders crackdown on quarantine violators

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    THE Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) yesterday ordered a crackdown on rampant violators of government’s stay-home orders and directed the police and local government units to step up their enforcement of minimum health protocols in an attempt to pull the breaks on the spiraling number of COVID-19 cases in recent days.

    DILG officer-in-charge Bernardo Florece ordered Lt. Gen. Cesar Binag, commander of the Joint Task Force COVID Shield, to deploy more policemen in the cities of Pasay, Malabon and Navotas in the National Capital Region, and in Cebu City and the province of Cebu in the Central Visayas region.

    Florece noted the three Metro cities and Cebu city and province registered the highest spikes in COVID-19 cases in the past three days.

    “The LGUs and even the PNP became complacent in the enforcement of minimum health standards. That’s why I ordered our local officials, including the barangays and the PNP, to be stricter in implementing basic health protocols in all barangays in the country,” Florece said.

    Florece said individuals who will be caught not wearing a face mask and face shield and those not observing physical distancing would be fined and sanctioned in accordance to guidelines laid out in local ordinances.

    Florece also ordered the PNP to strictly implement the different curfew hours in effect in the various LGUs.

    The DILG official said additional contact tracers would be deployed to areas where rapid transmission of the COVID-19 virus has been observed.

    Data from the Department of Health showed Metro Manila had 1,522 new cases; Central Visayas, 491 cases; and the CALABARZON, 341 cases on Sunday.

    In Makati City, the crackdown on quarantine violators has already started, with Mayor Abby Binay ordering the closure and revocation of the business permits of resto-bars Movida Fashion Food and Club and Royal Club, both operating in barangay Poblacion, for violation of the city’s curfew ordinance and relaxed enforcement of health protocols.

    The two establishments were shut down late Friday night.

    A Makati PNP report indicated 51 foreigners were apprehended, but later released, when the two clubs were raided. The foreigners were issued violation tickets and ordered to pay a fine of P1,000 each for the curfew and protocol violations.

    Makati City Ordinance No. 2020-165 prohibits the operation of entertainment bars or clubs while the city or the country is under a state of emergency.

    Under the said city ordinance, establishments face the following penalties: temporary closure for three days and a fine of P5,000 on the first offense; P5,000 and temporary closure for one month on the second offense; and closure for a period of not more than a year and P5,000 or imprisonment for not more than a year, or both, at the discretion of the court, on the third and succeeding offenses.

    Meanwhile in the city of Manila, Mayor Isko Moreno said there is still no need to close down the despite the uptick in COVID-19 cases in the past few days.

    “If I need to order a lockdown, I will lockdown Manila, whether it’s one day, three days or one week if that is the way to protect each and everyone. While we adapt to economic challenges brought by this disease, life is life. Life is the most important thing to me in decision making, but for now there is no need to lockdown Manila,” Moreno said.

    As a precaution, however, Moreno directed Manila police chief Brig. Gen. Leo Francisco to intensify police visibility in the streets, barangays and major thoroughfares and to also ensure the strict enforcement of minimum health protocols. – With Noel Talacay and Ashzel Hachero