MANILA - The Philippine National Police on Thursday reminded policemen not to arrest curfew violators but instead only warn or make them pay fines while Metro Manila and 4 surrounding provinces were under enhanced community quarantine.
"From our end, in so far as the implementation of ECQ is concerned, we are only requiring police officers, those who are conducting checkpoints, to just simply warn, and if there are ordinances that require these violators to pay fines then they will be fined. Maybe some seminars along the way," PNP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Ildebrandi Usana told ANC.
He added, "But for them to be arrested, the chief PNP himself already instructed our police officers not to do so because that would be tantamount to being counterproductive to addressing the concerns of these violators."
He made the remark following the death of a man in General Trias, Cavite who was forced to do strenuous physical exercise as punishment for breaching the curfew.
The police chief of General Trias and 2 other policemen were relieved from their post over the incident.
Usana said physical exercise was not being considered as punishment for curfew violators because police officers should follow the penalties imposed by local government units.
"Last year, we learned our lessons. We have had enough of the controversies that involved a number of our police officers and this year the chief PNP wanted that arrests should be out of the question," he said. "There must only be either warning or fines to be imposed depending of course on the LGU requirement."
Usana also urged policemen to exercise maximum tolerance and prudence in enforcing measures related to the quarantine restrictions.
To date, some 30,000 violators were apprehended by police while the so-called NCR Plus bubble is under hard lockdown from March 29 until April 11.
Under the strictest lockdown classification, curfew is from 6 p.m. until 5 a.m. to limit the movement of people in a bid to curb the alarming rise of COVID-19 infections.