In 2 days, PNP nabs 6,498 quarantine violators in Metro Manila

The Philippine National Police (PNP) nabbed at least 6,498 quarantine violators in the National Capital Region, 2 days after the implementation of the uniformed curfew hours, according to data released by PNP on Wednesday, March 17.

Of the violators in NCR, 3,942 were accosted from 10 pm of March 15 to 5 am of March 16. Meanwhile, 2,556 were accosted from 10 pm of March 16 to 5 am of March 17. 

The figures are significantly higher than the daily average of 1,415 quarantine violators from March 1 to 14. The total number of violators in the said time span stands at 19, 809. 

The implementation of curfew hours is part of the national and local governments’ efforts to curb the surging number of COVID-19 infections. On Wednesday, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority announced that minors aged 17 and below will be prohibited outdoors for 2 weeks.

'Ineffective curfews'

Senator Nancy Binay said in a statement on Monday, March 15, that curfews are ineffective if the laxed mindset towards the health crisis continues. 

"No matter how long we impose curfews, or even considering enacting ordinances as an institutional response to abate the surge of COVID cases, lahat 'yan 'di magiging effective (all of that will become ineffective) if we continue to display a relaxed atmosphere in the midst of a worsening public health crisis," Binay said. 

Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan added that lockdowns and the apprehension of quarantine violators are ineffective without appropriate health measures in place. 

"Mag-iisang taon na ang kung ano-anong [community quarantine] o lockdown. Nakita na natin ang epekto. Hindi nakokontrol ang pagkalat ng sakit ng pag-aresto at lalong-lalo na ng pagkulong sa mga quarantine violators kung walang mass testing, contact tracing, at isolation (It’s been a year since different community quarantines or lockdowns were imposed. We’ve already seen the results. Apprehensions of quarantine violators and arrests did not help in controlling the virus without mass testing, contact tracing, and isolation)," the senator said. 

For labor group Defend Jobs Philippines, the police should be considerate in implementing the rules, especially for workers. 

"Panawagan namin sa kapulisan, maging tolerant sila sa mga simpleng mamamayan na 'to, mga manggagawa po ito. Isang taon pong halos naapektuhan ng pandemic, walang trabaho, ngayon pa lang nakakabawi, dadagdagan pa natin ng mga pasanin at problema dahil sa paghuli sa kanila,? said Defend Jobs Philippines Spokesperson Lloyd Magsoy in an interview with TV Patrol. (Our request for the police... be tolerant to ordinary citizens, to workers. They were affected for more than a year by the pandemic, jobless, and just beginning to recuperate. Then we will add another burden by nabbing them?)"

As of Wednesday, the Department of Health recorded 4,387 new coronavirus cases that brought the total cases in the country to 635,698. 

On March 13, DOH also confirmed the detection of P3 or a COVID-19 variant originated from the Philippines. On the same day, they also confirmed that the Brazilian variant which is said to be more transmissible was also detected in the country. – Rappler.com