MANILA – Police officers cannot simply intrude into houses in the performance of their duty as enforcers of health protocols for the holiday season, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said on Thursday.
In an interview with CNN Philippines, PNP chief, Gen. Debold Sinas assured the families “solemnly” celebrating the holiday season would not be disturbed.
“If you are at home practicing social distancing, dinner, or a few drinks, alam lahat ng pulis yun na hindi kami mag barge in kasi trespassing yun lang kasi kapag nagpapatugtog ka ng malakas diyan na maingayan yung mga kapitbahay niyo at may magreklamo tapos violation sa specific na city o municipal ordinance ay ibang usapan din yun (Our police officers cannot just barge into houses. That is trespassing. But if you play loud music and it disturbs the neighborhood, someone complains about it or it violates a specific city or municipal ordinance, that is another matter),” Sinas said.
Sinas added that the police officers verify a complaint before responding to it.
“For now, we do not have the capability to regularly monitor social media. What we do is when we receive a text message saying there is something that went viral, we look for it and we act on it,” Sinas said.
However, Sinas said for mass gatherings spotted by police officers, only its organizers would be apprehended.
“Only the leaders because you see, if there are 50 or 100 of them, we do not have a big place or we still have to arrange a venue where they would be placed. Our guidance is to disperse them, get the leaders of the group and let them explain we invite them to the police station so that they can explain, they are responsible if there are any violations,” he said.
Sinas said the PNP will also strictly enforce the “no Christmas party” policy to avoid mass gatherings.
“The directive has been issued, guidelines have been issued, pronouncement has been given, nandun na lahat yan (everything is there) and I think our commanders are doing fine in implementing it,” he said.
He said if violations involve the improper wearing of face masks and shields, violators will not be arrested but will only be reminded of the minimum health protocol against the pandemic.
“Kung walang mask, bigyan ng mask, kung walang shield bigyan ng shield para po ma-impose namin (If they have no face masks and shields, give them so that we can impose it),” Sinas said. (PNA)