Ready, set, violate? MECQ violators given 3-day headstart before police start arrests

<i>Photo: Screengrab from Philippine National Police Video / FB</i>
Photo: Screengrab from Philippine National Police Video / FB

Quarantine violators in Metro Manila, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, and Bulacan will be given a few days to readjust to the sudden shift into modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) before the police start making arrests.

Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Gen. Archie Gamboa said in today’s briefing that the “reprieve [will be] two to three days.”

MECQ violations include leaving the house without a village-issued quarantine pass, not wearing face masks, not practicing social distancing, as well as riding pillion (except for frontliners).

“Let’s start with a warning. We’ll give the public [a] strict warning on the initial days of [the] violation. As the PNP adjusts, so do the people,” Gamboa said in English and Filipino.

The police chief also pleaded with Filipinos with non-essential businesses to stay home and “help frontliners” who have been working since the pandemic started to curb the spread of the virus. Gamboa added that fewer violators would mean less need for checkpoints and arrests.

Read: Quezon City official blames Rappler for ‘malicious’ spread of own ‘shoot-to-kill’ post

Meanwhile, following the incident of a Quezon City official threatening to shoot quarantine violators, Gamboa said that members of the PNP will take the opposite route.

“Shoot to kill? We don’t have that [rule]. Maybe he just wanted to emphasize [cooperation],” Gamboa said.

He instead called for the police and residents covered by the MECQ to work together amid the tightened lockdown.

“I’d like to remind the police force to exercise maximum tolerance, and on the part of the public, to please cooperate so that we can meet halfway,” Gamboa added.

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