MANILA (UPDATE) - The country’s top cop said Friday police officers would exercise maximum tolerance as they start implementing protocols under the enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila.
In an interview on ANC’s Rundown, Philippine National Police chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said arresting health protocol violators would be the last resort.
“Kung talagang insisting ang mga 'yan lalo na kung meron talagang disobedience, obstruction and related criminal offenses then we will arrest them,” said Eleazar.
Eleazar said that police manning border control points could just deny motorists passage if they are found to be violating the rule on Authorized Person Outside Residence (APOR) while local ordinances would be imposed on those who don’t comply with health protocols and defy the stay-at-home order.
“But basically maximum tolerance and we will respect the rights of each citizens,” he said.
Metro Manila is now under ECQ until August 20 to mitigate the spread of COVID-19’s highly transmissible Delta variant.
The PNP previously said that non-APORs are banned from driving for APORs. But following public clamor against the rule, Eleazar said they consulted with the National Task Force and this was eventually reversed.
“But naglagay tayo ng restrictions that the employers of these worker APOR should provide a certification showing the certificate of employment of the worker APOR, indicating also the name of the non-APOR driver to include its vehicle. Ilagay na rin natin doon 'yung copy of the business permit para malaman natin na talagang itong establishment na ito is part of the permitted industries,” he said.
(They should also include there a copy of their business permit for us to know if they are part of the permitted industries.)
He added that the said arrangement was still based on trust, and that police officers could always check the said documents to see if there are violators. If there are violations, he said the worker APOR, employer and even the non-worker APOR fetcher would be held accountable.
Since the start of the lockdown, the PNP chief said no untoward incident has been reported but they already observed expected traffic at quarantine control points.
"The point is if during this day and tomorrow we will see a lot of motorists na nagba-violate nito wala tayong magagawa kung di mag-check tayo,” he said.
Police Lt. Ephraim Dickson, commander of Joint Task Force COVID-19 Shield, said they told policemen manning the checkpoints to be "flexible" as well.
"Bilin naman po natin sa ating mga kapulisan ay maging flexible kung ang isang tao ay nagsasabi ng totoo," he said.
(We reminded our police officers to be flexible if a person is saying the truth.)
He was referring to incidents in case an APOR fails to bring documents such as his or her employer's business permit.
Dickson also assured the public the police officers had been tested against COVID-19.
Last week, some 82 fully vaccinated police officers in Quezon City tested positive for COVID-19, majority of whom were deployed during President Rodrigo Duterte's last State of the Nation Address (SONA).
Dickson said quarantine violators would also be placed in a designated area and not in detention cells.
"Kung sa presinto dadalhin, baka lalo lang magkakaroon ng hawaan," he said.
(If we put them in detention cells, it may result in infection.)