IN LIGHT of continued breaches in protocol in the country’s quarantine facilities, Senator Nancy Binay reiterated her call for quarantine marshals to be assigned in all quarantine facilities.
Binay also raised the possibility of introducing stiffer penalties for establishments and individuals found to have deliberately violated quarantine protocols.
“Increasingly, the need to ensure compliance is becoming more urgent. Mukhang hindi na sapat ang internal policing dahil patuloy pa rin ang quarantine violations na nababalita na mula pa sa simula,” Binay said.
The lawmaker first made the call for quarantine marshals in January last year, in the wake of flight attendant Christine Dacera’s death in City Garden Grand Hotel.
Rather than merely focusing on law enforcement, quarantine marshals would be tasked with ensuring that the public health aspect is also taken care of, said the senator.
“I think sa halip na mag-deploy tayo ng pulis na magbabantay sa mga quarantine facilities, mas mainam na itong mga marshals na lang para mas holistic ang approach. Hindi lang nagbabantay sa mga potensyal na paglabag, kundi pro-active na ini-improve ang system lalo na sa aspeto ng public health,” said Binay.
She proposed tapping barangay watchmen, assisted by a health officer, as marshals, with the IATF and Department of Tourism briefing and training them.
Besides checking if health/safety protocols are enforced in establishments, she added that the marshals would also be tasked with inspecting if establishments have proper waste disposal measures.
Binay also said that police deployment would not necessarily weed out the corruption that is at the heart of the issue.
“Corruption issue naman ito at hindi issue ng order. What we need is a system that would weed out corruption. Hindi dapat band-aid solution ang mga pulis na itatapal natin sa bawat problema ng bansa,” she said.
“This is, again, a public health issue, and we need public health experts. At best, what we need is a hybrid approach that would respond to the public safety and law enforcement aspects. Pero hindi lang dapat pulis,” the senator added.
She added that accountability mechanisms should be in place to deter abuse, and for quarantine facilities to “stick to the rules.”