Nearly a year into quarantine, gov't deploys more cops in bid to curb COVID-19 spike

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 12 2021 03:40 PM | Updated as of Mar 12 2021 09:54 PM

Nearly a year into quarantine, gov't deploys more cops in bid to curb COVID-19 spike 1
A member of the police Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) patrols Blumetritt Street in Manila on April 21, 2020 to enforce social distancing measures under the enhanced community quarantine. Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News

MANILA — Police presence will be heightened to ensure the public adheres to health protocols, Malacañang said on Friday as Philippines records daily-record highs in COVID-19 cases. 

The Department of the Interior and Local Government earlier this week ordered the police to increase police deployment and strictly enforce minimum public health standards.

While Metro Manila remains the epicenter of infections, enforcement of quarantine rules is a "national policy now,” said President Rodrigo Duterte's spokesman, Harry Roque. 

“It is a directive issued by the DILG, which must be implemented by the PNP nationwide, but particularly in areas where there are noted increase in COVID cases,” Roque said in a press briefing.

Most local governments have ordinances which set penalties on the violation of COVID-19 protocols, said Roque.

“Habang dumadami ang kaso ng COVID-19 ngayon, mas importante po na maipatupad natin itong minimum health standard para sa indibidwal, para sa mga establishments at siyempre yung pagtugon ng mga LGUs sa kanilang mga katungkulan,” he said. 

(While cases of COVID-19 are increasing, it is more important to implement minimum health standards for the individual, establishments, and of course the response of LGUs to their obligation.)

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Metro Manila authorities have coordinated with the police to help barangay officials implement curfew hours meant to slow the spread of COVID-19, said Parañaque Mayor Edwin Olivarez. 

"We have to remind iyon pong discipline sa tao... Naka-one year na po tayo kaya parang nagkaroon na po ng fatigue ang tao doon sa ating ipinapa-implement," said Olivarez, who is also chairman of the Metro Manila Council. 

(We have to remind people of discipline. We have been in lockdown for a year so people are experiencing fatigue with what we implement.)

The Philippines on Thursday recorded 3,749 new coronavirus infections, the highest daily increase in cases in nearly 6 months. The health department said total confirmed cases were at 607,048, while deaths reached 12,608. 

Authorities have warned the public not to be complacent and practice physical distancing to avoid the spread of the virus accelerating further.