MALOLOS, Bulacan - Bulacan police said Thursday it was set to file complaints against village officials of Barangay Matictic in Norzagaray town for alleged health protocol violations over the crowding of people in a river last weekend.
The barangay officials allegedly failed to impose minimum health standards and illegally collected P20 entrance fee from tourists despite the province being under general community quarantine with heightened restrictions due to the lingering threat of COVID-19.
“Suposedly, 'di ba, meron tayong mga health protocols. Magla-log book ka para sa contact tracing. Ilalagay, o saan ka nakatira, ano pangalan mo. Mukhang nakalimutan na nila lahat 'yon, o kinalimutan na nila 'pag nakakita na sila ng P20,” Police Col. Lawrence Cajipe, director of Bulacan Provincial Police Office, said in an interview.
(We have health protocols where you write your name and address in a logbook for contact tracing. It seems they forgot it when they saw P20.)
Barangay Matictic Chairman Marcial Lucas and 24 other village officials will face complaints for violating Republic Act 11332 or Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act, Republic Act 1319 or Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, and Bulacan's Executive Order 19 which mandates maintenance of health protocols, Cajipe said.
He said they were coordinating with the Department of the Interior and Local Government and the Provincial Prosecutor’s Office for the filing of charges based on police investigation.
“Based do'n sa investigation ng Norzagaray, 'yong pangongolekta ng P20 per head para makapasok doon sa Bakas River, unang-una hindi 'yon private. Government 'yan. Based on investigation, eh mukhang walang kaukulang ordinansa o batas tayo para maningil sila nang gano'n,” said Cajipe.
(Based on the investigation of Norzagaray police, the collection of P20 per head at the Bakas River - first it is not a private property, but public - based on investigation, it seems they don't have an ordinance authorizing the collection of fees.)
Over 2,000 people were caught last weekend in a mass gathering at Bakas River, majority of whom didn't wear face masks.
-- Report from Jorge Cariño, ABS-CBN News