PNP asks LGUs to provide holding areas for protocol violators

SAFE. These ladies are protected from the heat and the coronavirus by an umbrella and masks as they cross a street in Dasmariñas City, Cavite on Sunday (May 9, 2021). The Philippine National Police are authorized to arrest anyone not wearing or improperly wearing masks in public places. (PNA photo by Avito Dalan)

MANILA – Police stations will coordinate with local government units (LGUs) to prepare holding areas for those who will violate minimum health standards, like not wearing or improperly wearing masks.

In a radio interview on Sunday, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar also clarified that those caught without masks may be “temporarily” taken into police custody for briefing.

Ang direktiba natin sa ating mga unit commanders kahapon makipag-coordinate sa LGUs. Maghanap ng lugar sa barangay na magiging holding center. Huhulihin natin ‘yung matigas ang ulo na in spite ng ating pakiusap, ay nandiyan pa rin (Our directive to unit commanders is to coordinate with LGUs. Find an area in the villages that will be used as holding areas. We will arrest stubborn individuals who, in spite of our reminders, still refuse to comply),” Eleazar, who held his first command conference at Camp Crame in Quezon City on Saturday, said.

Those who will be caught will be given masks and taken to holding areas. They will be dealt with according to the LGU ordinance.

Ipo-process natin depende sa ordinansa na pinatutupad. Kung community service, so be it. Kung sila ay magmumulta, gawin natin ‘yun and then after that, ire-release natin sila (We’ll process them depending on the ordinance. If they must do community service, so be it. If they must pay fines, we’ll enforce that then they’ll be released),” Eleazar said.

On Friday, Department of the Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año ordered the PNP to prepare detention areas in anticipation of the number of arrests.

“In order to sustain the decline in Covid-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) cases across the country, authorities must strictly implement and enforce all minimum health standards and protocols, especially the proper wearing of face masks and face shields and the strict enforcement of curfew hours,” Año said in statement on Friday.

Eleazar said most police stations have small detention areas but if they are empty, health protocol violators may be taken there.

Ang reality kasi, puno na ng mga nakakulong doon sa detention cell kaya maghanap tayo ng holding area at doon po kami nakikiusap at humihingi ng tulong sa ating mga LGUs pati na rin barangay para doon sa mga holding areas ang pagdadalhan sa kanila (The reality is, detention cells are packed so we request LGUs and villages to provide holding areas),” he said.

Eleazar also said Senator Bong Go and Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez donated masks and pledged to give more.

Officers were directed to ensure violators of the health safety protocol will not be hurt, Eleazar assured.

Pwede natin silang arestuhin pero hindi natin sila dapat parusahan at lalong hindi natin sila dapat saktan. Kapag ginawa ninyo ito, mananagot kayo sa akin (We can arrest them but we should not hurt them. If you hurt them, you will have to answer to me),” he told officers. (PNA)

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