Newly-appointed Philippine National Police chief Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar gave a reminder to cops to only arrest violators and not hurt them.
“Huhulihin natin sila and then bibigyan natin ng face mask, and we will bring them doon sa ating mga holding areas […] So ang bilin natin pati, hindi tayo magbibigay ng parusa. Arrest them, but do not hurt or punish them,” said Eleazar.
Members of the police force were previously ordered by President Rodrigo Duterte to arrest and question individuals not wearing face masks properly, stressing that the wearing of face masks is a “critical need” amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ordinances by local government units can be applied on the arrested persons, Eleazar added.
“With the corresponding provisions of the existing ordinance in your locality, ‘yun ang i-apply natin. Kung community service, so be it. Kung kailangan magmulta, so be it,” he said. “Then after not more than 12 hours, i-release na natin sila.”
Eleazar also ordered cops to coordinate with LGUs to prepare holding areas for arrested violators to avoid overcrowding in police stations.
“I gave instruction to our unit commanders, kung masikip na sa mga police station, hindi na dun dadalhin. Coordinate with concerned LGUs and barangay officials so we can look for holding area na kung saan dadalhin sila dun for booking procedure,” he said.
Department of the Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año previously made clear that violators of health protocols will be given a warning first and will not be immediately arrested.