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PNP, LGU hotlines vital in identifying quarantine violators – Eleazar

JOINT Task Force COVID Shield commander, Lieutenant General Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar has underscored anew the importance of all Philippine National Police and Local Government Unit hotlines in the government’s effort to contain further spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus since they will serve as avenues for concerned citizens to report the present quarantine violators in their communities.

“We are calling on all responsible and law-abiding citizens of our country to report violators of quarantine protocols specifically non-wearing of face masks and social distancing violations to our hotlines and social media accounts of local PNP units and barangays,” the official said.

“Alam ng mga tao sa barangay kung sino ang hindi nagsusuot ng face masks at sino-sino ang madalas mag-umpukan para mag-inuman, magsugal at mag-tsismis sa kani-kanilang barangay na violation ng ating quarantine rules. At naniniwala kami na maraming gustong magsumbong dahil alam nila kung gaano kaseryoso ang banta ng COVID-19 pero natatakot o nahihiya silang i-report ito dahil mga kamag-anak at kapitbahay nila ang mga violator,” Lt. Gen. Eleazar added.

According to the official, he strongly believes that if given the opportunity to report all quarantine violations in their barangays without giving away their identities and compromising their personal securities, more people would report quarantine violations in their neighborhood.

Eleazar said anybody can report to the JTF COVID Shield hotlines: 0998-849-0013 for Smart users and 0917-538-2495 for Globe users. The JTF COVID Shield can also be reached through its email address: [email protected]. The PNP Helpline 16677 can also be contacted, he added.

“We in the JTF COVID Shield believe that this would further strengthen our efforts to strengthen the enforcement of wearing of face masks and other quarantine rules as ordered by President Duterte,” he said.

Eleazar said that PNP chief, Gen. Archie Francisco F. Gamboa has given the go-signal for all police commanders to strengthen the process of reporting and filing of complaints related to quarantine violations at the barangay levels as part of the strict enforcement of mandatory wearing of face masks and other minimum health safety standard protocols against the Corona Virus Disease.

As such, he said the cooperation of residents at the barangay level would be encouraged if they have the means to report violations by their neighbors, especially if their identities would not be known.

Eleazar tasked all police commanders to make sure that all their existing hotline numbers are working, and if none, new hotline numbers should be made available as soon as possible.

He said city and municipal police stations could also use their respective social media accounts where the barangay residents could send a direct message for any information relating to quarantine violations in their communities.

The official also urged all barangay councils to make available their own hotline numbers to give their respective constituents the chance to report quarantine violators for immediate action.

Strengthening the barangay reporting system of quarantine violations, he explained is a good start for good working relationship and interoperability of the local police and the barangay security officers, or popularly known as barangay ‘tanods.’

Gen. Gamboa earlier approved the designation of Quarantine Rules Supervisors, or PNP COVID Focal Persons, in the more than 42,000 barangays in the country for the strict enforcement of the minimum health standard protocols at the community level.

The QRS are tasked to supervise the barangay tanods in the enforcement of quarantine rules such as wearing of face masks, observation of physical distancing and prohibition of parties and celebrations and other forms of mass gathering.

Once quarantine violation reports are received at the police station, the local police could initiate operations. On the other hand, the barangays, after receiving quarantine violations in their respective hotlines, could either conduct operations of their own using the barangay ‘tanods’ or coordinate with the designated QRS in their respective barangays for police intervention.

As such, Eleazar urged police commanders to coordinate with their respective Local Government Units (LGUs) for the printing of tarpaulins the hotline numbers for reporting of quarantine violations that would be posted in conspicuous places in the barangay.

The PNP and the JTF COVID Shield has called on the support of all barangay officials in their effort to fully enforce quarantine rules. Eleazar particularly cited some cases in the past wherein infections were reported after patients joined a drinking session using one ‘shot glass’, and after attending a party.

He also urged policemen to coordinate with the Punong Barangay where they were designated as QRS or PNP COVID Focal Persons to check on all the old and new barangay ordinances that could be used to strengthen the enforcement of quarantine rules such as curfew.

Eleazar likewise urged all the Punong Barangay to pass an ordinance in support of the guidelines issued by the PNP, Directorate for Operations headed by Major Gen. Emmanuel Luis D. Licup in the enforcement of quarantine rules through the designated QRS.