MANILA – Cops would be armed with “rattan sticks” in enforcing physical distancing in public areas in Metro Manila, Joint Task Force Covid Shield commander Lt. Gen. Cesar Hawthorne Binag said on Friday.
Binag said the number of police officers has been doubled in areas of public convergence such as markets, malls, churches, terminals and ports where they would be tasked to conduct physical distancing patrols.
“We have doubled the deployment of cops and soldiers would also assist us in physical distancing patrols. This was what our chief PNP (Philippine National Police), Gen. Debold Sinas ordered. They have one-meter rattan sticks to enforce the physical distancing rule,” Binag said in a Laging Handa briefing.
This came after reports that physical distancing is not being observed by shoppers in Divisoria market
Manila Mayor Francisco ‘Isko Moreno’ Domagoso on Thursday reminded shoppers at the Divisoria market to observe health protocols for the holiday season amid the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.
Meanwhile, Binag said chiefs of police are also tasked to coordinate with the management of establishments such as shopping centers to ensure the enforcement of health protocols in malls, especially this holiday season.
He added that the police would also talk to church officials regarding the celebration of Simbang Gabi (pre-dawn Masses) for the Christmas season.
“The chiefs of police would talk to their respective parish priests in their areas for the scheduling of Masses. This is to spread the attendance of churchgoers in compliance with the 30 percent capacity rule in places of worship,” he noted.
Earlier, PNP chief, Gen. Debold Sinas, said the number of people attending the Misa De Gallo, including those in Camp Crame, should be controlled.
Under rules of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), religious gatherings are allowed at 30-percent capacity in areas under the general community quarantine (GCQ).
Sinas said the PNP will strictly enforce the “no-caroling” and “no Christmas party” policy to avoid mass gatherings. (PNA)