PHILIPPINE National Police chief General Camilo Pancratius P. Cascolan yesterday ordered his men to step up their enforcement of minimum health protocols imposed by the government to help fight further spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus and to use Facebook to monitor violations.
The PNP chief issued the instruction as the Joint Task Force COVID 19 headed by Lieutenant Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar said it has monitored reports and complaints of blatant violation of motorcycle pillion riding, drinking in public and other quarantine protocol violations.
The official said photos and videos of such violations have been or are being posted on Facebook and other social media platforms by angry netizens.
Gen. Cascolan ordered all 17 police regional office directors to direct their ground commanders to actively monitor Facebook and other social media platforms in their areas and immediately act on photos and videos of quarantine violations, some of them posted by the violators themselves as if taunting the government.
Lt. Gen. Eleazar said this is in addition to the increased police visibility with the help of barangay enforcement teams nationwide, specifically in public transport hubs, business centers and other places of massive public convergence.
The PNP chief ordered unit commanders to set up police desks or ensure the conduct of regular patrols in these areas to ensure that public transport drivers and their passengers as well as the rest of the general public will be properly observing minimum health safety standard protocols such as wearing of face masks and face shields, and physical distancing.
“Random mobile checkpoints and surprise inspections of public utility vehicles are also encouraged. Coordination with leaders of transport groups in your AORs should also be done in order for them to police their own ranks,” said Gen. Cascolan.
Eleazar said there are are also other Facebook posts showing quarantine protocol violations on the streets captured by CCTV cameras and dash cams installed in private motor vehicles.
“The social media are full of photos and evidence of hardheaded people deliberately violating the quarantine protocols. These can be used as pieces of evidence to warn, to fine and to summon the people concerned in coordination with the barangay officials concerned,” said the official.
Among the usual photos and videos being posted in social media are violations of the motorcycle pillion riding and photos and videos of drinking sessions, he said.
Lt. Gen. Eleazar said that those who would be caught engaging in drinking sessions may face additional charges especially if there is an existing liquor ban in their respective communities.
He also appealed to the netizens to assist the PNP in running after violators of quarantine protocols even if they are policemen, members of other law enforcement agencies or duly-elected public officials.
Gen. Cascolan vowed to discipline any policeman caught violating the quarantine protocols.
“I will see to it that everybody who imposes or implements the law shall be disciplined and should also follow the law they are implementing,” the PNP chief said.
Based on the data from the JTF COVID Shield, more than 365,000 have been warned, fined and charged for violations of quarantine rules since March 17.