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PNP optimistic over MECQ rules adaptation despite first day's crowds

The Philippine National Police (PNP) said on Sunday that they were optimistic that people would quickly adapt to the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) guidelines despite the overcrowded malls and traffic build-up on the first day of its implementation.

“We were quite alarmed, but this is understandable. As days go by, we will continue to learn, collaborate, and adjust accordingly our enforcement of MECQ guidelines,” said PNP spokesperson Police Brigadier General Bernard Banac in a statement.

“After all, this is the new normal, we all must learn to live with it,” added Banac.

According to the PNP, the traffic build-up and attempts to move in and out of the National Capital Region (NCR) were observed on Saturday - the first day of the looser quarantine restrictions.

Banac added that shoppers had enjoyed their day at the mall and overstayed inside supermarkets and shops such that by late afternoon “the accumulated number of people inside malls seemed to look like overcrowding.”

Ambo response

The PNP spokesperson also noted some challenges in Ambo disaster response operations in areas under restrictions.

Citing the experience of some police frontliners, Banac said face masks were getting wet, washed off, or blown away due to rainfall and strong winds.

Areas under the modified ECQ were the NCR, Laguna, and Cebu City.

Social distancing was not observed inside evacuation areas where people temporarily took shelter, Banac added.

The World Health Organization earlier warned that a hasty lifting of the restrictions imposed to control the COVID-19 pandemic could lead to a fatal resurgence of the new COVID-19 cases.  — DVM, GMA News