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More law enforcers to be deployed in markets to ensure social distancing, Eleazar says

Additional law enforcers will be deployed in public markets to ensure that social distancing is being observed by the public, according to Philippine National Police (PNP) deputy chief for operations Police Lieutenant General Guillermo Eleazar.

In a press statement, Eleazar, who leads the Join Task Force COVID-19 Shield, said local police chiefs across the country were directed to implement measures that would limit the number of individuals in public markets, adding that barangay officials were also tasked to assist in implementing the measures.

“Our Chief PNP, General Archie Francisco Gamboa, has already instructed local police commanders across the country to implement measures that would limit the number of people in the public markets, specifically on the matter concerning the strict observance of the social distancing rule,” Eleazar said.

“On the part of Secretary of the Interior and Local Government Eduardo Año, he had already tasked barangay officials to assist in this effort to make sure that there would be no more violation of the enhanced quarantine guidelines on social distancing,” Eleazar added.

This directive came following the circulation of reports and photos in social media that social distancing was not observed after a large number of individuals flock to public markets.

Over the weekend, Balintawak market was flocked by people despite the quarantine being implemented by the national government to curb the spread of coronavirus disease 2019. Authorities have since limited activities there. 

According to Eleazar, there must be limited entry and exit points in the markets which will be manned by cops, soldiers and other force multipliers such as the barangay tanod. They will also remind people on social distancing through their megaphones.

“Limiting the number of people going inside the public market is a way of ensuring that social distancing is observed inside. The same concept is already being implemented in supermarkets and grocery stores,” Eleazar said.

Aside from that, Eleazar vowed that security forces would continue to monitor situations in other public areas and residential sites to ensure that residents would just stay at home, especially if there is no need for them to go outside.

“The real purpose of the enhanced community quarantine which we have been doing in almost one month now would be put to waste if we continue to allow people to violate home quarantine rules especially social distancing and for them to stay at their houses,” Eleazar said.

He urged the public to report to authorities any violators of the rules of the strict quarantine to the following numbers: Smart: 0998-849-0013 and Globe: 0917-538-2495. They can also report through this email address: — Anna Felicia Bajo/RSJ, GMA News