A POST received by the Joint Task Force COVID Shield Facebook page last Saturday night resulted in the arrest of 16 young people in Taguig City who were found to drinking liquor heavily and enjoying the birthday party of one of their friends in full violation of General Community Quarantine protocols, Lieutenant General Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar announced yesterday.
According to the official, members of the Taguig City Police Station arrested the 16 while engaging in a drinking session along the street and celebrating the birthday of one of their friends around 10:30 p.m. last Saturday along Aguirre Street in Barangay Lower Bicutan.
Eleazar said that a concerned citizen secretly took photos of the group and posted the photographs to the COVID Shield Facebook page. After seeing the photos, local policemen led by Lieutenant Wilfredo Tanquerido Jr. went to the area and accosted the 16 while they were actually engaged in a drinking session.
Arrested were Ralph Cruz, 19; Nichole Cruz, 21; Michael Quijou, 21; Christian Pregil, 21; Paul Belarmino, 21; Ian Augala, 21; Enen Sison, 21; Jojo Angala, 39; Jackie Bosque, 37; Franz Pascua, 19; Monica Reyes, 19; Kevin John de Guzman, 23; Ivan Pacete, 21; Gabriel Inserto, 21; Mark Anthony Ortigas, 21; and a 17-year old female.
“When the police personnel went there, those who attended the birthday celebration were not wearing face masks and not observing the proper physical distancing,” said Eleazar.
He said that all those accosted were taken to the basketball court of the barangay which serves as a holding area for quarantine violators, and were released after six hours.
However, the 16 are not off the hook as they will still be facing charges for violation of Taguig City Ordinance number 27-89 (Drinking in Public Places) and violation of Article 151 of the Revised Penal Code (Resistance and Disobedience to a Person in Authority).
Lt. Gen. Eleazar said the operation conducted in Taguig City was the first quarantine violation-related police operation since the JTF COVID Shield activated a Facebook page last September 11.
The JTF COVID Shield, in coordination with the Philippine National Police headed by General Camilo Pancratius P. Cascolan earlier ordered police commanders to monitor viral photos, videos and reports of netizens for violations of quarantine protocols in the social media.
“The operation in Taguig City is a proof of what we as a country could achieve in terms of protecting public health if we would all work together to protect ourselves and our community from the coronavirus,” said Eleazar.
“We hope that this successful operation would encourage more of our kababayan to report to us all the quarantine violations in their community. We assure them of our quick response and the protection of their identity,” he added.
Gen. Cascolan earlier emphasized the need for the barangay level enforcement of the quarantine rules, saying a good coordination between the police and the barangay officials could lead to the effective prevention of the spread of the Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19).
He also encouraged the netizens to help the government enforce the quarantine rules, saying that they are also in the better position to monitor social media for violations of protocols in their respective communities.
The Department of Interior and Local Government also encouraged he public to take photos and videos of violations of quarantine protocols and then upload them.
“We assure them that we will take immediate action because this is a matter of protecting public health,” said DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año.