PHILIPPINE National Police (PNP) chief, General Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar on Tuesday directed the Manila Police District to look into the possibility of filing charges against more people for their involvement in the street boxing match in Tondo which grossly violated general community quarantine rules amid the pandemic.
This developed as Parañaque City Mayor Edwin Olivarez reiterated his call for barangay officials to strictly implement minimum health standards amid the COVID-19 pandemic following reports that several minors were caught on video playing games without face masks during a fiesta in Barangay Baclaran last Sunday.
For the street boxing event, MPD headed by Brigadier Gen. Leo M. Francisco has filed charges against a barangay official and two other persons for violating guidelines issued by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) as well as illegal gambling and game-fixing.
“I commend our local policemen for acting decisively and immediately filing charges against the barangay councilor and two other persons behind this illegal activity. Bukod sa paglabag sa quarantine rules, sinampahan din sila ng reklamong illegal gambling at game fixing,” said Eleazar.
The PNP chief also cited good police-community relations in discovering the boxing event in Tondo.
“Sa tingin ko kung patuloy na ganito kabilis ang aksyon ng ating mga kapulisan ay makukumbinse din tumigil ang mga pasimuno ng paglabag sa pandemic guidelines at minimum public health safety protocols dahil alam na nilang sa kulungan lang ang bagsak nila,” Eleazar said while noting that calls from concerned citizens triggered the police response.
“Nakakadismaya nga lang na sa Tondo, mismong ung opisyal ng barangay na dapat ay magpakita ng magandang example ang siyang nanguna pa sa mga pasaway na nag-organize ng potensyal na super spreader event,” he said.
Eleazar said the local police should continue its investigation to identify and possibly file charges against the participants and spectators in the match because none of them observed COVID-19 pandemic guidelines and minimum health standards.
“Isa ito sa mga sinasabi nating super spreader event eh. Napakabilis ng hawaan sa mga ganitong pagkukumpol-kumpol. Tandaan natin na nasa gitna pa din tayo ng pandemya at hindi natin malalagpasan ito kung hindi tayo magtutulungan kahit sa simpleng pagsunod lang sa minimum health protocols,” he said.
“Kung hindi man tayo natatakot sa COVID-19, matakot tayo para sa ating mga pamilya. Hindi biro ang madapuan ng COVID. Marami sa ating frontliners, kabilang ang mga health workers at pulis, ang nahawaan na at namatay para lang makontrol ang pagkalat ng virus. Huwag natin balewalain ang kanilang sakripisyo. Huwag nating ipakipagsapalaran ang ating kalusugan at kaligtasan para lang sa panandaliang saya,” Eleazar said.
Meanwhile, Olivarez said they will also conduct a parallel investigation on the Baclarn fiesta wherein people managed to hold mass gatherings for the feast of Sta. Rita de Cascia, that saw even young children being involved.
Based on the video, the minors were seen licking each other faces’, while some of those who watched did not have face masks and did not observe social distancing.
In a press briefing on Tuesday, Eleazar also ordered Southern Police District (SPD) Director P/BGen. Jimili Macaraeg to investigate the fiesta celebration in Baclaran, following reports that health protocols were violated during the event.
“I am giving you instructions to conduct an investigation immediately regarding this and do the appropriate action,” Eleazar said.
Olivarez said he already issued a memorandum to all the barangay captains to constantly remind and educate their constituents the importance of wearing of face mask, the observance of social distancing, and curfew.
Olivarez, currently chairman of the Metro Manila Council, said that he already issued a directive to Association of Barangay Captain president Chris Aguilar to implement measures against mass gatherings during fiestas.
The mayor said violators will be charged with violation of Article 151 of Revised Penal Code for disobedience to person on authority, in relation to Executive Order 35, including approved city ordinances and executive orders.
“We will check and see if there was a shortcoming among barangay officials in Baclaran, as well as law enforcers assigned in the area,” Olivarez said.
He said gatherings, such as processions and food feasts, as well as singing and dancing parties, can be “super spreaders” of the COVID-19.
For his part, Baclaran Barangay chairman Jun Zaide said they had not received any reports regarding the matter and reasoned out that barangay officials went around in the area and was informed that everyone was told that there would be no mass gatherings. By ALFRED DALIZON & EDD REYES