Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, Gen. Archie Francisco Gamboa, on Monday, instructed all police officers to immediately impose fines and release all persons caught violating protocols on mass gathering during President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA).
“Kung pwede i-charge man sila (If they can be charged) for violations of quarantine protocols, then right away they can pay their fine, they can be released,” Gamboa said in a press briefing.
He also ordered the police must secure a huge space that will serve as a holding area for arrested persons to ensure physical distancing.
He added that arrested individuals could be held accountable in accordance with the existing ordinances of the local government units (LGUs).
Gamboa said the Quezon City local government could be requested to send their treasurers and have receipts for the facilitation of fines to be paid by the violators. Only third-time offenders would be charged for the violation of the Republic Act (RA) 11332 or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act.
Under the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), holding of mass gathering of more than 10 people is prohibited.
Earlier, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) sent an advisory to the LGUs reminding them of the said prohibition based on the IATF-EID guidelines.
Meanwhile, National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief, Major Gen. Debold Sinas, said four people aboard a passenger jeepney along Quezon City Memorial Circle were the first ones arrested by the police for this year’s SONA.
The government has earlier allowed traditional jeepneys to ply selected routes only as mass transportation remains limited amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) health crisis.
Sinas did not name the arrested protesters but said a placard was seized from them bearing the name of “Piston”. (PNA)