Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary (DILG) Eduardo Año warned Monday that nightspots, eateries, restaurants and similar establishments violating quarantine restrictions will be closed down guaranteeing that appropriate charges will be filed against their operators as the fight against COVID-19 is far from over.
After Año received information about the blatant violations of the minimum health standards in the towns of Marilao and Bocaue in Bulacan, the local Philippine National Police (PNP) acted on the tip and raided a pub in the town of Bocaue where 11 people were arrested for violation of quarantine restrictions.
Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar COVID-19 Joint Task Force chief reported that elements of the Bulacan PNP and the Bocaue police force nabbed the suspects in Hermelyn Videoke Bar on McArthur Highway in Barangay Bunlo, Bocaue, Bulacan for violation of Republic Act 11332 and Provincial Ordinance 87-2020.
The suspects were identified as Hermie Abot, owner of Hermelyn Videoke Bar and customers Baltazar Camahin; Jaymark Agripa; Justine Ryan Navarro; Alex Gayola; Roel Arcelia; Nick Regadillo; Jeffrey Caballero; Fernando de Vera; Benedict Gayola and Gilbert Gutierrez, all employees of Wilber Movers located in the same town.
In his report, Bulacan Police Provincial Director Lt. Lawrence Cajipe said the bar was operating without the necessary business permit while the arrested customers violated the physical distancing rule and were not wearing face masks while having a drinking spree during the curfew hours.
Año welcomed the tips from concerned citizens stressing the fight against the virus is a concerted effort between the public and the government.
He asked the PNP to routinely make the rounds of all establishments to ensure that the minimum health standards are followed.
The DILG chief also called the attention of the local chief executives (LCE) to ensure that such complaints are acted on fairly and immediately.
With the easing of quarantine restrictions, several concerned citizens complained that this was abused by some groups as social distancing and other minimum health protocols were totally disregarded in some areas that may cause the resurgence of the dreaded virus.
Businesswoman Cecille Mendoza of Barangay Lolomboy in Bocaue, Bulacan claimed that customers have started to flock the nightspots unmindful of the dangers of the virus.
“Parang hindi sila tatamaan ng sakit. Buti sana kung hindi sila makakahawa (It is as if they cannot be infected by the virus. It is good if they do not infect others with the virus),’’ Mendoza said.
Mendoza also appealed to the DILG and the PNP to impose “stricter penalties’’ against the violators citing that “wala na silang takot sa otoridad (they have no fear in the authorities).’’
“Issuing citation tickets will not do as these violators are very stubborn. Long jail terms may be the most appropriate action,’’ Mendoza insisted.