JOINT Task Force COVID Shield commander, Lieutenant General Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar yesterday said he has asked the Manila Police District to investigate violations of social distancing rules blatantly committed during a Black Nazarene procession held outside the Quiapo Church last Monday.
The official said he has asked the help of Manila Police District director, Brigadier Gen. Rolando Miranda and MPD Station 3 commander, Lieutenant Colonel John Guiagui in looking into the incident and determining the persons liable for violating strict government protocols to help prevent further spread of the deadly virus.
According to Eleazar, they have been informed that the Quiapo Church administration was discouraged from holding the religious procession which attracted a huge volume of Black Nazarene devotees even during a rainy Monday.
The JTF COVID Shield commander said that all kinds of processions remain prohibited in areas under general community quarantine and nobody is exempted from the guidelines imposed by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.
Lt. Gen. Eleazar said that although the intention of the organizers of the procession may be good, it should be noted that the highly-venerated image will automatically attract devotees and negate rules on social distancing.
The official said no arrests will be made in connection with the incident but an investigation will be conducted to determine people who can be held liable for GCQ violations.
It means that the MPD will ask Quiapo Church officials to explain the incident.
Initially, Quiapo Church officials said they were given a permit by the local government to conduct the procession in which the marshals wore face masks and face shields in observance of GCQ protocols.
The procession was also reportedly not announced to the public to prevent devotees from joining the parade.