PHILIPPINE National Police (PNP) chief, General Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar on Friday instructed all his commanders nationwide to strictly monitor and prevent mass gatherings in their areas of responsibility this fiesta season.
“Alam naman natin na kapag piyesta, nariyan ang mga handaan, mga aktibidad sa simbahan at iba pang mass gatherings. Nakagawian na natin ito at bahagi ng tradisyon pero bawal pa rin po ito hangga’t narito ang banta ng COVID-19,” the PNP chief said.
On Thursday night, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered local government units (LGUs) to implement measures against mass gatherings during fiestas.
Eleazar said they will fully implement the presidential directive in order to prevent mass gatherings similar to what happened to the Gubat sa Siyudad pool resort in Caloocan City where hundreds of people came to swim Sunday last week despite the existing modified enhanced community quarantine that time.
The incident prompted the local government to close the resort and file criminal charges against its owners and personnel. The local police-community precinct commander and barangay captain were also ordered investigated by Eleazar in the aftermath of the incident.
“I am directing the police commanders to strictly monitor happenings in your AORs. Napakahalaga po ang inyong papel para mapigilan natin ang mass gatherings o mga potential super spreader events ngayong panahon ng piyesta,” he said.
According to the PNP chief, the police will also closely coordinate with LGUs, including barangays, to make sure there will be no mass gatherings.
“Madali po ang hawahan tuwing may mga kainan, prusisyon, o kahit anong selebrasyon. Ito ang mga tinatawag nating mga ‘super spreader events.’ Huwag naman po nating isugal ang ating kaligtasan at kalusugan sa mga ito,” Eleazar said.
The top cop also emphasized that police will no longer issue warnings to violators as these minimum public safety health protocols, including the prohibition on mass gatherings, have been implemented since last year.
“This time, they should already know our minimum health standards. At dapat sa puntong ito ay automatic na sa bawat isa sa atin. Matagal nang bawal ang mass gatherings at alam na alam na natin ang mga paraan para makaiwas mahawaan ng COVID-19,” he said.
However, he assured the citizenry that police are under instruction not to harm or impose punishments on the violators.
“Ang bilin ko naman po sa ating mga kapulisan, huwag na huwag sasaktan, paparusahan o hihiyain ang sinumang lalabag sa protocols. Bigyan din sila ng face masks kung kinakailangan,” he assured the public.
The PNP chief also said that aside from the ban on mass gatherings, the police will strictly enforce curfews set in the different localities.