DILG urges LGUs to pass ordinances on punishing COVID-19 quarantine violators

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 17) – The Department of Interior and Local Government urged on Friday all local government units to enact ordinances to punish quarantine violators amid the COVID-19 crisis in the country.

Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año said the move is timely, since many individuals are violating rules imposed by the national government in the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine.

As of April 13, the Philippine National Police arrested around 108,000 people for violating rules under the enhanced community quarantine.

A noticeable sight this week is the high number of vehicles crowding Metro Manila’s national highways, which negates the government’s social distancing, checkpoints, and home quarantine protocols.

Some people were also penalized for participating in activities outside their home, such as drinking, loitering, gambling, and even a boxing match which caused Barangay 20 in Tondo, Manila to be on total lockdown for 24 hours on April 14.

READ: Manila mayor orders 24-hour barangay shutdown after supposed quarantine protocol violations

Concerned about the widespread violations, President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday threatened a “takeover” by military and police officials if people continued to insist on going out of their homes during the enhanced community quarantine.

The government has released a list of Authorized Persons Outside Residence to limit public interaction and help control the spread of the virus that has infected 5,878 individuals and killed 387 in the country.

Following the president’s directive, Año ordered the deployment of more policemen to man quarantine checkpoints and apprehend quarantine violators.

He feared that all of the national government’s efforts will be put to waste if people disobey rules and precipitate a surge in COVID-19 cases.

Ilang araw na lang, 13 days to go tayo tapos ang daming sumusuway. Akala mo parang walang lockdown eh sayang ang pinaghirapan natin kung magkakaroon nanaman tayo ng surge,” he said in an interview with CNN Philippines’ Ruth Cabal.

[Translation: We only have 13 days to go, but many are still disobeying like there’s no lockdown. All our efforts will be wasted if we will have another surge.]

Año shared he instructed the PNP to look for an area where all quarantine violators will be detained.

The island-wide enhanced community quarantine brought by the COVID-19 pandemic will last until April 30.