Duterte wants cops in quarantine facilities

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 5) — President Rodrigo Duterte wants policemen stationed in hotels serving as quarantine facilities after several returning Filipinos allegedly breached health protocols.

During his weekly briefing on the COVID-19 pandemic, the President proposed to have at least two police officers deployed to ensure quarantine rules are being followed.

Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said he has already spoken with Philippine National Police chief PGEN Dionardo Carlos about the matter and they are currently preparing for its implementation.

Duterte said the police must have "complete authority to inquire" to ensure compliance to protocols.

Earlier, the government revealed several returning Filipinos have been discovered to be skipping quarantine protocols upon returning home despite rising COVID-19 cases and the threat of the Omicron variant.

The PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group recently filed a complaint against the so-called "Poblacion girl" and eight others for allegedly violating the government's quarantine rules.

The person identified as Gwyneth Anne Chua was supposed to undergo isolation at Berjaya Makati Hotel, but managed to visit the city's Poblacion area where she attended gatherings.

The Makati hotel already apologized, and said this was the "only incident of its kind" under its watch.

Several of the facility's staff are also facing charges, but Duterte said it is not legally correct to go after hotel owners or managers.

They cannot be tasked to take the burden of enforcing quarantine rules because only the government can do it, the President pointed out.

However, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra cited Republic Act No. 11332, which may be used against these hotels. Under this act, Guevarra said establishments designated as quarantine hotels must ensure that those isolated within their facilities "should not be able to jump the quarantine regulations."