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Number of ECQ violators now at 136,517, says PNP chief Gamboa

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Police General Archie Francisco Gamboa on Tuesday said a total of 136,517 violators of the enhanced community quarantine have been recorded by the police.

"[A total of] 136,517 ECQ violators [were recorded] for the past 35 days of the enhanced community quarantine," Gamboa said during a virtual press briefing.

Of the total number of violators, Gamboa said 99,986 have been warned by authorities, more or less 6,000 were fined, and around 31,000 were arrested by authorities.

Gamboa said most violators in Metro Manila were recorded by the Southern Police District followed by the Northern Police District, Eastern Police District and Manila Police District.

The PNP chief said a total of 731 individuals were also arrested for alleged hoarding and overpricing activities while 9,418 public utility vehicles were apprehended.

Gamboa underscored that the police organization would strictly enforce the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine in coordination with local government units particularly in Metro Manila, Central Luzon, CALABARZON, and localities with a high number of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases.

"There will be no more warnings for ECQ violators. Instead arrest and inquest procedures will be applied to cases of violations of Republic Act 11469, 11332, as well as Article 151 of the Revised Penal Code," Gamboa said.

"These violations of law carry appropriate penalties and fines. But what would be more burdensome is the tedious judicial process and the implications of derogatory record to their personal criminal profile," he warned.

SAF deployment

As there were still ECQ violators, Gamboa said he also ordered the deployment of Special Action Force commandos to assist the local police units.

"I have also authorized 12 teams of the Special Action Force totaling 116 personnel to strategic locations in Metro Manila," Gamboa said.

"Based also on the directive of the President kaya nagdeploy kami dito sa NCR ng SAF," he added.

President Rodrigo Duterte made a warning that the police and the military would takeover as some Filipinos continue to violate the rules of the ECQ, which is expected to last until April 30.

There is no decision yet if it will be lifted or not. — RSJ, GMA News