PNP lacks manpower to check viral social media posts for quarantine violations


Posted at Sep 07 2020 08:06 AM | Updated as of Sep 07 2020 08:46 AM

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MANILA — The police lack manpower to scour millions of social media accounts to find violations of pandemic lockdowns, an official said Monday. 

Instead, authorities will focus on complaints sent online to the police and viral posts showing quarantine violations, said Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, chief of Joint Task Force COVID-19 Shield. 

“Wala po kaming kapabilidad, lalo na ang mga police station natin na magtiktik sa inyo, sa dami ng aming ginagawa,” Eleazar told ABS-CBN’s TeleRadyo. 

(We do not have the capability, especially our police stations, to surveil you because we have so many other tasks.)

“What we are after ay itong ipinapadala sa atin through our official account, at the same time, itong mga nagba-viral na intention naman ng nag-post nito na malaman ng ating pulis. Iyon po ang ating aaksyunan,” he added. 

(What are after are those sent to our official account, and at the same time, posts that go viral, in which the intention of the person who posted it is to let authorities know. We will take action on those.)

Police have responded to social media complaints even before the pandemic. It can also take action on viral posts because these are “openly and publicly posted,” he said. 

The Joint Task Force COVID Shield recently ordered all police commanders to monitor social media for violations of quarantine protocols, including drinking sessions and other forms of celebrations. 

Social media posts won’t immediately lead to arrests, as local ordinances encourage community service and fines for violators, Eleazar said. 

“Iyong ikinukulong lang natin iyong mga nagre-resist, or talagang disobedience,” said the official. 

(We jail those who resist or committed disobedience.)

“Kinaklaro ko po: ‘pag naka-post na iyan, hindi puwede kaming mag-accost o mag-preso kasi tapos na iyan. What we can do is to validate this sa tulong ng barangay at [‘pag] mayroon tayong na-identify sa kanila, at kung may interesadong mag-file ng kaso at may nakuha tayong statement at witness, then we can file cases,” he added. 

(I’m clarifying: if that is posted, we can’t accost or jail people because that’s already done. What we can do is validate this with the help of the barangay and if the violators are identified and there are people interested in filing cases, if we get statements and witnesses, then we can file cases.) 

The Philippines has confirmed 237,365 coronavirus infections, of which 48,803 were active as of Sunday.