– With Christian Oineza
INTERIOR Secretary Eduardo Año on Monday ordered the PNP to intensify the conduct of foot and mobile patrols to ensure strict compliance with the home quarantine facet of the Luzon-wide lockdown declared by President Duterte effective March 17 to April 12.
DILG spokesman Jonathan Malaya said Año issued the order after getting reports that many residents continue to go out of their homes even for non-essential trips, in violation of the lockdown guidelines.
“It’s saddening that we’re hearing from the field that many are not listening to our call (for enhanced community quarantine). Many are caught during curfew, many are not following,” Malaya said.
In Parañaque, Malaya said, there were field reports that over a thousand individuals were caught violating the curfew imposed by the city government.
Malaya said Año directed the PNP to intensify foot patrols and mobile patrols in the barangays and check how barangay officials are enforcing the lockdown guidelines on home quarantine and social distancing.
He appealed anew to all barangay officials to be more active in the implementation of the lockdown, even as he decried that while majority of barangay leaders have been complying with guidelines set by the Inter-Agency Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), there have also been complaints that a number of barangay officials have been remiss in their jobs.
“If there is (COVID-19) outbreak in your areas, that’s not the fault of the government. That is your (barangay officials’) fault because you did not do your jobs in your areas. We want to emphasize the need for social distancing, that’s the answer as of now. There is no medicine against it (virus) so far,” Malaya said.
Malaya also took exception to reports that quoted DILG undersecretary for barangay operations Martin Diño as saying authorities are not going to uphold human rights during the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine.
“Undersecretary Diño wants to relay that he was misquoted. He did not say the DILG is not going to uphold human rights (during the quarantine period),” he said.
A few days ago, a barangay chairman in Sta. Cruz town in Laguna reportedly put in a dog cage several youths who violated the curfew.
“I think the barangay chairman already apologized. We in the DILG also warned the local government office there (against human rights violations). We want to clarify that even during times of calamity, the DILG and the Philippine National Police is going to uphold human rights,” Malaya said.
PASS FOR SALE?
A barangay chairman from Marantao town in Lanao del Sur was arrested by the police on Sunday for selling quarantine passes to his constituents.
A report from the Lanao del Sur police said Cassar Abinal, chairman of Barangay Mantapoli, was nabbed around 3:50 p.m. at the barangay hall.
Before Abinal’s arrest, the intelligence unit of the provincial police received a text message from a “concerned citizen” about the selling of home quarantine passes (HQPs) at the Mantapoli barangay hall.
“Acting on said report, the police officers immediately responded and they saw a bond paper posted on the wall of (the) barangay hall asking for P20 for HQP, which is a clear violation of the SILG (Secretary of Interior and Local Government) directives for non-payment of barangay pass,” the report said.
Abinal was taken to the Marantao police station for investigation and filing of charges.
The Lanao del Sur government has placed the province under enhanced community quarantine to contain the threat of COVID-19, which has infected at least 400 people in the country.
Ten persons were arrested in Marikina City on Saturday for violating home quarantine rules after they were caught drinking in a street in their neighborhood.
Col. Restituto Arcangel, local police chief, identified those arrested as Anthony Sodario, 33, Rommel Zausa, 63, Fredelito Empiales, 67, Joseph Banawa, 65, Joel Sanoco, 49, and Mariel Sison, all residing in Barangay Industrial Valley Complex; Mark Anthony Calalin, 26, of Barangka; and Rommel Ignacio, 49, Joel Peña, 42, and Jeffrey Anape, 42, all of Sto. Niño.
They were arrested between 2 p.m. and 5:45 p.m. last Saturday after they argued with barangay officials who accosted them for drinking in the streets.
Five more persons were arrested by police operatives for selling overpriced alcohols and face masks in operations in Bulacan, Manila and Quezon City on Sunday afternoon.
Three of the suspects – Marvin Verdillo, Jose Rafael de Guzman, and John Patrick Enriquez, were nabbed by Bulacan policemen in Barangay Kaingin in San Rafael town, Bulacan at around 2:10 p.m.
The three were arrested after selling 73 pieces of 1-liter bottles of alcohol to an undercover policeman for P220 a bottle, way above the Department of Trade Industry suggested retail price of P130.
The fourth suspect, identified as Willy Sy, was arrested by operatives of the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in Jose Abad Santos in Tondo, Manila at around 3 p.m.
“The operation stemmed from the information and complaints received by the CIDG of alleged hoarding and overpriced selling of face masks in Manila,” the CIDG said in a statement.
The CIDG organized an entrapment operation. Santos was caught selling 1,200 boxes of face masks (containing 50 masks per box) for P1,600 per box. The suggested retail price for a box of face masks is only P1,400.
The fifth suspect, Huansing Chan, was nabbed also by CIDG operatives at around 5:15 p.m in Kitanglad street in barangay Dona Josefa.
The CIDG said Chan sold to an undercover policeman 350 bottles of unlabeled alcohol, weighing one liter each, for P175.
The five suspects are facing charges for violation of Republic Act 7581 or the Price Act and Republic Act 7394 or the Consumer Act of the Philippines.