ACTIVISTS should give up holding rallies and street protests amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) because it only obstructs pedestrians and motorists and give police additional work, according to National Capital Region police chief Major Gen. Debold Sinas.
“Kung ako tatanungin, kung pwede huwag na talaga sanang mag-rally. Kasi kapag nagra-rally sa kalsada, maharangan ‘yung naglalakad (If I had my way, it’s best for them not to hold rallies. If they do it in the streets, they obstruct pedestrians),” Sinas told the House committee on good government on Monday night.
“Tsaka dagdag-trabaho pa rin kasi ita-transport pa namin ‘yung mga tao namin na magbabantay sa kanila hangga’t uuwi sila. So harang din ‘yun sa kalye (And it’s more work because we need to transport our personnel who will stand guard until they (protesters) go home),” he added.
Sinas made the comment after he was asked by Anakalusugan party-list Rep. Michael Defensor how the police impose health protocols during rallies.
There was no immediate response from groups usually holding protest rallies.
The Metro Manila police chief was among the resource persons invited by the panel which looked into the situation of the locally stranded individuals (LSIs) who were forced to disregard quarantine protocols while stuck at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex late last month.
Sinas said the police see to it that protesters wear face masks and observe physical distancing while they wear protective gears.
He said field the police use their field uniforms as protection plus raincoats which serve as their personal protective equipment (PPE).
Sinas said those without masks are asked to go home while those arrested are given face masks before being brought to police stations.
Sinas hogged the limelight last May after he was heavily criticized for allegedly holding a birthday celebration which violated quarantine protocols, an allegation he has strongly denied.
Posted on the official NCRPO Facebook page on the morning of May 8 were several photos showing Sinas blowing out the candle on his Voltes V birthday cake, photos of the “mañanita” (early morning serenade) held for Sinas, and photos of the attendees who clearly ignored physical distancing.
One of the pictures also showed Sinas without a face mask while seated on a table with six other men. A live band was shown performing. The photos were removed on May 13.