Quarantine violations reported to task force on Facebook result in 16 arrests
MANILA, Philippines — Taguig City police arrested 16 people found drinking together on the streets at a birthday celebration after they were reported to the quarantine enforcement task force via social media, it said Tuesday.
The operation, the Joint Task Force COVID Shield said, resulted from the report of a one social media user "who provided the local police with the details of the violation and even provided photos of the on-going violation of the quarantine protocols" to the COVID Shield Facebook Page.
In a statement issued Tuesday afternoon, the joint task force disclosed that operatives of the Hagonoy Police Sub-Station 9 in Bicutan, Taguig City were immediately sent to Aguirre Street in Barangay Lower Bicutan at around 10:30 p.m. on September 12 after they received the complaint.
Task force creates Facebook page for complaints on quarantine violations
“When the police personnel went there, those who attended the birthday celebration were not wearing face masks and not observing the proper physical distancing,” said Police Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, task force commander.
This comes just days after the task force formally opened its Facebook page, which it said could be used to gather evidence from netizens "to warn, to fine and to summon the people concerned in coordination with the barangay officials concerned."
After the task force's initial announcement, the National Privacy Commission in a separate statement urged them to be judicious in their monitoring and considerate of data privacy ramifications.
Arrested after the operation were:
- Ralph Cruz, 19
- Nichole Cruz, 21
- Michael Quijou, 21
- Christian Pregil, 21
- Paul Belarmino, 21
- Ian Augala, 21
- Enen Sison, 21
- Jojo Angala, 39
- Jackie Bosque, 37
- Franz Pascua, 19
- Monica Reyes, 19
- Kevin John de Guzman, 23
- Ivan Pacete, 21
- Gabriel Inserto, 21
- Mark Anthony Ortigas, 21;
- "and a 17-year old female."
"All those accosted were taken to the basketball court of the barangay which serves as a holding area for quarantine violators, and were released after six hours," the task force said in its statement.
"They will be charged with violation of the Taguig City Ordinance number 27-89 (Drinking in Public Places) and violation of Article 151 of the Revised Penal Code (Resistance and Disobedience to a Person in Authority)."
President Rodrigo Duterte has said that violating quarantine protocols and not wearing a face mask outdoors can be considered a “serious crime” as the country grapples with the public health crisis, though critics have expressed concern over the health and safety of those taken to cramped detention facilities like basketball courts.
In an earlier statement, the task force said it would be looking into fines and community service as possible penalties for any quarantine violators apprehended.
"We will have to ask our police to be more strict. So hulihin talaga. A little shame would put them on notice forever. Sino ba namang gustong mahuli ka. But if you are brought to the police station and detained there, that would give you a lesson for all time,” the chief executive said at a public address in July.