MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday ordered the deployment of policemen to quarantine hotels, after at least 2 travelers allegedly violated COVID-19 isolation rules.
Duterte said hotel personnel “cannot be doing the police work for the government” when it comes to barring people from cutting short their quarantine.
He added it would be a “messy thing” to delegate this authority to hotel personnel.
"Ang makapahinto lang sa kanila, iyong government personnel placed, put there in the hotel to work in the matter of placing people under quarantine," Duterte said of quarantine violators during a taped meeting with officials.
(Only government personnel placed, put there in the hotel to work in the matter of placing people under quarantine can stop them from going out.)
He then asked Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, "Sir, kaya mong maglagay ng pulis sa mga hotels na ginagamit ng quarantine ng gobyerno? Dalawang pulis in 2 shifts para d’yan lang?"
(Can you deploy policemen to hotels used by government for quarantine? Two policemen in 2 shifts just for that purpose?)
"Yes, Mr. President," replied Año, adding that he has talked with the Philippine National Police.
"Naghanda na po sila," he said.
(They have prepared.)
Authorities earlier this week reported that a Filipina traveler from the US who left her quarantine hotel and partied the next day. She and several of her close contacts later tested positive for COVID-19.
The tourism department on Monday said another Filipino was caught violating quarantine protocols after posting on social media about going for a massage session.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra noted a law on the mandatory reporting of notifiable diseases has a “provision on non-cooperation as part of prohibited acts.”
“It seems to me that non-cooperation on the part of certain entities which are charged with a duty to respond to the pandemic, may also be punishable,” he told Duterte.
“These entities, Mr. President, may include establishments which are charged with a duty, for example, as a quarantine hotel, to ensure that people who are quarantined within the establishment should not be able to jump the quarantine regulations,” Guevarra continued.
He said hotel management could demand proof of why someone in quarantine would need to go out, “like for emergency reasons to see a doctor or something like that.”
But Guevarra also acknowledged that hotels have no "coercive power” and that “they can only report” violations.
Duterte commented, “Iyan ang problema. That’s why pulis na lang.”
“They also have to keep mindful of their duty to advise the person at kung magpipilit, then [they have] the power to arrest them, no doubt about it.”
(That is the problem. That's why we'll just send the police. They also have to keep mindful of their duty to advise the person and if they insist, then they have the power to arrest them.)