COVID-19 police task force wants community service, fines for lockdown violators
MANILA, Philippines — The COVID-19 police task force has called for the imposition of community service and fines for violators of the government’s lockdown rules in order to decongest detention facilities.
Police Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, chief of Joint Task Force (JTF) COVID Shield, suggested this Wednesday as he cited ways to avoid crowding of detention cells and prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the new coronavirus that causes the potentially deadly respiratory disease COVID-19.
“Almost all of the barangays and Local Government Units (LGUs) have no detention facilities so the tendency is to turn over those who would be arrested to the local police. As part of the decongestion measures of police detention facilities, it is advisable that violators are punished by community service or payment of fine as sanctions,” he said in a statement.
Eleazar pointed out that community service could benefit LGU projects while the money that can be collected from fines can be used to fund LGUs’ recovery and response programs.
Eleazar also noted that violators should only be arrested and slapped with complaints if they become disobedient to law enforcers upon apprehension.
Eleazar, who is also PNP deputy chief for operations, said the penalty for quarantine violators would still depend on ordinances passed by LGUs.
According to JTF COVID Shield’s data, more than 360,000 quarantine violators have been apprehended since the coronavirus lockdowns were imposed in mid-March.
The JTF COVID Shield is composed of law enforcement agencies that are mandated to enforce the policies of the Interagency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.
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