Eleazar tells cops amid ECQ in NCR: Injuring, shaming violators not part of mandate
MANILA, Philippines — Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar has reminded police officers deployed during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila that injuring and shaming those who breach health protocols is not part of their mandate.
Eleazar also said on Friday that police officers should be courteous in dealing with people and mindful of the public’s rights as they deal with potential violators.
“I would like to remind our personnel who will be deployed to enforce the ECQ to be courteous at all times and respect the rights of our kababayan especially in dealing with violators. Hindi kasama sa ating tungkulin ang pagpaparusa, pananakit at pagpapahiya sa mga violators,” he added.
(It is not within our mandate to punish, injure, or shame those who violated health protocols.)
Similarly, he also urged people to observe the health protocols installed like the wearing of masks, face shields, physical distancing, and refraining from mass gatherings so that there would be no need for a stricter imposition of rules.
“Subalit hindi na kailangang paabutin pa sa unnecessary confrontations at maging sa punto ng arestuhan ang mahigpit na pagpapatupad nito kaya nakikiusap din ako sa ating mga kababayan sa Metro Manila na maayos na sumunod sa mga alituntunin ng ECQ at respetuhin natin ang mga taong nagpapatupad nito,” Eleazar explained.
(But we should not have unnecessary confrontations and even threaten with arrest just to enforce the regulations, that’s why we are calling on the public here in Metro Manila to properly follow the rules that are in play during an ECQ, while respecting the people implementing them.)
“The fight against the COVID-19, including all its variants, is not only the responsibility of the people in the government, it is an obligation of everybody and our first line of defense is to be mindful of our protection and that of our family at all times — and to avail of the free vaccinations the moment that it becomes available for you,” he added.
During the previous impositions of the ECQ in Metro Manila and other areas, there were rampant reports of police and other local law enforcement units abusing their authority, leading to potential human rights violations.
One of the infamous cases involving PNP was the killing of former Army Cpl. Winston Ragos last year, who was shot dead by Police Mst. Sgt. Daniel Florendo of the Quezon City Police District (QCPD), near a checkpoint in Barangay Pasong Putik.
The assailant claimed that Ragos was armed and was trying to pull out a revolver — which was later found at the crime scene. However, witnesses said that Ragos did not have a gun with him, as closed circuit television footage showed onlookers telling Florendo that the victim was instead suffering from a mental illness.
This has led the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to ask authorities to enforce quarantine restrictions with a human rights dimension — which means that it should always be remembered that the regulations are meant to keep people safe from harm, and not the other way around.
On the PNP’s side, this issue and the recent spate of police-led killings have prompted Eleazar to push for neuropsychiatric tests within the police force for every three years to ensure that the officers are fit to do their jobs.
Regarding the ECQ implementation, Eleazar said that he has already discussed the matter with National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) director Maj. Gen. Vicente Danao Jr. to ensure that the quarantine restrictions will be properly implemented.
“From the streets, communities, public utility vehicles, mass transport system and even in business establishments, we will make sure that the minimum public health safety protocols and other quarantine rules will be strictly implemented in order to achieve the purpose of this decision: to contain the spread of the COVID-19, particularly the more transmissible Delta variant,” he added.
On Friday, Malacañang confirmed that President Rodrigo Duterte already approved the resolution from Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infections Diseases (IATF) placing Metro Manila under under ECQ due from August 6 to 20, due to the threat of the Delta variant.
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