Sinas claims none arrested in 'NCR Plus' for not wearing face mask, face shield


Posted at Apr 13 2021 12:29 AM

MANILA - More than 3,400 Filipinos were arrested during the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in the "NCR Plus" bubble, according to Philippine National Police chief Gen. Debold Sinas on Monday night.

Sinas, in a briefing with President Rodrigo Duterte, said law enforcers nabbed 3,430 and fined 8,266 others in the bubble — which consists of Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal — for violating the "Reporting of Communicable Diseases Act" (RA 11332) from March 29 to April 12.

More than 14,000 were fined and over 1,000 were ordered to do community service also in "NCR Plus" due to curfew violations.

But according to data from Sinas, the PNP didn't arrest anyone for not wearing face masks and face shields, or holding mass gatherings, despite reports. 

Under Section 9 of RA 11332, persons can be arrested if they did the following:

(a) Unauthorized disclosure of private and confidential information pertaining to a patient’s medical condition or treatment;

(b) Tampering of records or intentionally providing misinformation;

(c) Non-operation of the disease surveillance and response systems;

(d) Non-cooperation of persons and entities that should report and/or respond to notifiable diseases or health events of public concern; and

(e) Non-cooperation of the person or entities identified as having the notifiable disease, or affected by the health event of public concern.

Earlier, a doctor was arrested without warrant and was taken under the custody of the Cainta Police in Rizal province for almost four days for cycling without a face shield, despite a memorandum from the country's inter-agency COVID-19 task force (IATF) allowing cyclists from mandatory use of face shields when biking. 

Despite the memo, the doctor was charged. Sen. Leila de Lima had condemned the arrest.

"A doctor who could be saving patients' lives was detained merely because the authorities failed to properly discern and apply the guidelines involving the use of a face shield while riding on a bike," she said.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra earlier this month advised the IATF not to order the arrest or detention of violators and impose community service instead.

More than 100,000 people were arrested from March to September of last year as a result of the implementation ECQ, including Quezon City residents waiting for food assistance, individuals holding protests actions in Manila and Cebu, and activists organizing relief missions without a quarantine pass in Bulacan.

A quarantine breach complaint was also filed against Sinas over a "mañanita” or surprise birthday party in May last year.

No less than President Rodrigo Duterte “pardoned” Sinas, whom he promoted to head the PNP in November last year.


Watch more on iWantTFC