PNP chief: Quarantine violators face immediate arrest without warning

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 21) – The Philippine National Police will immediately arrest without any warning those who will violate the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine guidelines.

Based on the national police’s data, there are 136,517 quarantine violators for the past 35 days of the ECQ which started March 17 to contain the spread of COVID-19.

PNP Chief PGen. Archie Gamboa announced on Tuesday that those who disobey the protocols will not be warned anymore and will be subjected to proper inquest procedures once arrested.

Violators of the ECQ will be charged under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act, and Article 151 of the Revised Penal Code, which penalizes the act of resistance and disobedience to a person in authority.

“These violations of law carry with it appropriate penalties and fines," said Gamboa in his online press briefing. "But what will be more burdensome for the violators are the tedious judicial process and the implications of a derogatory record to their personal criminal profile."

Gamboa also said 12 additional teams of the PNP Special Action Forces have been deployed in strategic locations in Metro Manila to further enforce the ECQ.

The rising cases of quarantine violations pushed Gamboa to assign more PNP-SAF and Armed Forces of the Philippines members in quarantine checkpoints.

“We should learn from the experience of other countries which prematurely relaxed the enforcement of lockdown and caused a resurgence in infections," the country's top police officer said. "Let’s not be complacent."

Meanwhile, Gamboa reported there are now 74 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the police ranks. Twelve officers recovered and three died from the virus.

The PNP is also now building a 120-bed facility in the PNP grandstand grounds that will serve as a quarantine facility for policemen that have probable, suspected, or confirmed COVID-19 infections.

“We will not allow the continued increase in the cases of our law enforcers, who are the country’s last line of defense in maintaining order amidst our fight against COVID-19,” he said.