MANILA – Joint Task Force Covid Shield commander, Lt. Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar, on Friday lauded the Batangas Provincial Police Office over the arrest of 14 people, including some former and incumbent local officials, while engaged in illegal cockfighting in Alitagtag, Batangas.
Eleazar said they have been receiving reports that cockfighting or “tupada” is prevalent again in some parts of the country as quarantine restrictions were eased.
“Ilegal na nga ang ganitong gawain, parang binabastos pa nila ang ating gobyerno na walang tigil na nagta-trabaho at naghahanap ng sapat na pondo para lang sa proteksyon nila at ng kanilang pamilya laban sa Covid-19 (coronavirus disease 2019). Kailangang matigil ito at bigyan ng leksyon ang mga taong ito (This kind of game is illegal and it’s as if they are insulting our government, which is constantly working and looking for sufficient funds just to protect them and their families against Covid-19. This needs to stop and these people should learn their lesson),” he said in a statement.
In coordination with Interior Secretary Eduardo Año and Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, Gen. Camilo Cascolan, Eleazar instructed police commanders to intensify their intelligence-gathering and barangay-level coordination against illegal cockfighting and other forms of illegal gambling that violate quarantine protocols.
Based on the report from the Batangas Provincial Police Office, the operation was conducted on Sept. 30 following a report from a concerned citizen about the activity.
Among those who were arrested were Alitagtag municipal councilor Jerome Garcia, former Alitagtag vice mayor Manuel Gutierrez, and incumbent Dominador East Barangay chairperson Antonio Chavez.
Malimban said all those arrested are facing cases in violation of Presidential Decree 1602 (Illegal Gambling), Republic Act 11469 (Bayanihan to Heal as One Act), and Republic Act 11332 (Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Disease and Health Event on Public Health Concern Act).
Eleazar said the successful operation was in line with the directive of Cascolan for police commanders to reach out to the community not only on peace and order matters but also in preventing the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
“The successful operation in Alitagtag, Batangas gives us all the idea of what we can achieve if the police and the community will work together to maintain peace and order and to protect every community from the coronavirus. We encourage our commanders to continue reaching out to the community because every person in the barangay plays a key role in the security and safety of every community,” said Eleazar.
The JTF Covid Shield earlier urged police commanders to ensure that all the hotlines and social media accounts of the police stations must be active in order to act on every complaint and concern of the people in their Areas of Responsibility (AORs).
The JTF Covid Shield also created a Facebook page where netizens can report and send photos and videos of blatant quarantine violations. (PNA)