Community Service, Fines 'Advisable' for COVID Rule Violators: Police

Arresting or filing of charges should be last option, says JTF Covid Shield.
Photo/s: Jerome Ascano

Community service or fines is "advisable" for violators of COVID-19 quarantine rules to avoid overcrowding detention centers, the head of a police-military task force in the capital said Thursday.

Current quarantine classifications, GCQ for Metro Manila, Batangas, Bulacan, Tacloban and Bacolod and MGCQ for the rest of the country (except Iligan, which is under MECQ) are good until Sept. 30, during which the public is required to wear face shields and face masks, among others.

"Almost all of the barangays and local government units (LGUs) have no detention facilities so the tendency is to turn over those who would be arrested to the local police. As part of the decongestion measures of police detention facilities, it is advisable that violators are punished by community service or payment of fine as sanctions," said Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, head of Joint Task Force COVID Shield.

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Philippine National Police Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac previously said the number of violators was "higher than expected, but the trend is falling." Offenders are usually fined P1,000 to P5,000 or brought to barangay centers for lectures — for going out of one's residence without a quarantine passnot wearing a face masknot observing proper distancingdisobeying authorities, and leaving home despite being a non-essential worker.

As for ill-mannered violators and repeat offenders, Eleazar said they could be apprehended or indicted as a last option. Community service provides manpower for local initiatives, while money from fines are added to the coronavirus budget.

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