PHILIPPINE National Police chief General Dionardo B. Carlos yesterday ordered his men to conduct surprise inspections of business establishments and quarantine hotels located in Metro Manila and the provinces of Cavite, Rizal and Bulacan which are now under Alert Level 3 status.
Acting on instructions of President Duterte and Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo M. Año, Gen. Carlos said they will make sure that health protocols are strictly implemented in these establishments and that there will be no more room for persons skipping quarantine.
“This will give the PNP the authority to intensify our inspection of these establishments since there is a directive from the DILG. These inspection rounds will be unannounced and shall be conducted randomly to determine which establishments are compliant with Public Health protocols. Let this be a warning that there is no room for complacency during this health emergency,” the top cop said.
National Capital Region Police Office director, Major Gen. Vicente D. Danao Jr. said his men have already been accounting for persons undergoing quarantine in different hotels in Metro Manila.
So far, there have been no monitored quarantine skippers in Eurotel, Eco Vedel Hotel, Axiaa Hotel, Dreamworld Hotel who have been turned by the government into quarantine facilities for more than 300 Overseas Filipino Workers and Returning Overseas Filipinos.
Based on existing IATF guidelines, businesses in areas under Alert Level 3 can operate if their workers are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. They are also allowed to cater to fully vaccinated clients or customers; and use only 30 percent capacity for indoor set-up and 50 percent capacity for outdoors or Al Fresco.
The PNP leadership said that their unannounced inspections will help check minimum health safety protocol violations taking places in these areas as well as the presence of persons who may be skipping their mandatory quarantine just like in the case of Gwynette Anne Chua.
“We believe that police visibility will serve the purpose to monitor how the quarantine hotels are accommodating their guests who are required to isolate while waiting for the completion of the required number of quarantine days,” Gen. Carlos said. He also expressed belief that police presence in hotels will be an ‘effective approach’ in stopping cases of absentee quarantine.
The PNP is in talks with other law enforcement agencies to get to the bottom of the scheme in the wake of reports of alleged ‘under-the-table’ connivance between errant guests and hotel management to make it appear that their guests strictly follow quarantine protocol but are actually skipping quarantine and leaving the hotel premises to go to their homes or party.
Gen. Carlos also ordered concerned police officials to intensify the deployment of their men to public places now that health authorities have classified the COVID-19 situation in the country as ‘high-risk’.
“DOH is sending a red flag to law enforcers to recalibrate their strategy. It is laid upon us to manage the movement of people, grounded on the national IATF direction and local Executive Orders,” he said.
Gen. Carlos said they will be using the same security template they are implementing in Metro Manila in Bulacan, Cavite and Rizal.