Western Visayas cops create new ways to enforce curfew in quarantined areas
ILOILO CITY –– From attending vigils with an empty coffin to mandatory film-viewing, police units in Western Visayas are finding innovative ways to enforce curfew in areas under COVID-19 quarantine.
Unlike in some areas where curfew violators are made to do physical exercises or sit under the sun, those in Iloilo City are asked to watch a video documentary on the disease.
Curfew violators apprehended by village officials and policemen are brought to grandstands or gymnasiums, where they are required to watch the almost two-hour video on the disease.
“We believe the violations are due mainly to the lack of understanding of the disease and the importance of staying home,” Captain Shella Mae Sangrines, spokesperson of the Iloilo City Police Office, told the INQUIRER.
Sangrines said they were not in favor of physical punishment because “we are in a health crisis” and the curfew violators have rights.
“We want to get their support by making them understand,” she said.
She said the film-showing which was started at the Police Precinct 1 was more effective because the violators paid more attention instead of listening to lectures and admonitions by police and village officials.
“Besides, police chiefs were losing their voice due to nightly lectures,” she said.
The curfew violators are released and turned over to their village officials after their names and addresses are recorded to monitor any recidivist.
In Sagay City in Negros Occidental, the city government urges residents to stay home by placing a coffin on top of a funeral car roving around the city.
On the funeral car, a message reads: “Mag Tinir Sa Balay, O Sulod Ka Sa Lungon (Stay at home, or you’ll end up in a coffin).
Major Antonio Benitez, city police chief, said the program was intended to remind people, especially curfew violators, of the danger of COVID-19.
Those arrested, he said, were required to attend a night-long vigil before an empty white coffin inside the Sagay City Gym as a penalty.
At least 30 violators, who were apprehended on April 1 in Barangays Vito, Paraiso, Poblacion, and Old Sagay, were the first batch made to attend the vigil.
Benitez said the Sagay Inter-Agency Task Force against COVID-19 and the city government of Sagay conceptualized the program to send a strong message to the people to not take the virus lightly and to follow orders from the government.
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