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Duterte orders deployment of cops in hotel quarantine facilities


PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte has asked the Interior department to deploy at least two police personnel in every hotel used as a quarantine facility to keep watch on and arrest those who will violate rules. 

Mr. Duterte said hotel owners do not have the authority to enforce health protocols and arrest those who cut quarantine. 

They “cannot be doing the police work of the government,” he said in a taped Cabinet meeting aired on Tuesday night. “We can maybe designate them, the hotel, but as to the enforcement, they cannot really enforce (the rules).”

Mr. Duterte, meanwhile, claimed that hotel owners and managers “cannot be in a position to legally stop” their guests from violating protocols. 

However, Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra said Republic Act No. 11332 or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act can penalize hotel management. 

“Sir, with due respect, I can see something in the existing law… there is a provision there on non-cooperation as part of prohibited acts,” he told the President at the meeting.

“It seems to me that non-cooperation on the part of certain entities, which are charged with a duty to respond to the pandemic, may also be punishable.”  

Still, the President insisted that hotel staff would be unable to physically stop guests from violating quarantine protocols. 

“If they fight back, that becomes a problem already,” Mr. Duterte said in Filipino. 

The order came after a returning Filipina from the United States skipped her quarantine in a hotel to attend a party in a luxurious hub in Makati City.

The Tourism department has temporarily suspended the accreditation of the hotel involved in the incident.

Meanwhile, the President ordered village captains to restrict the movement of unvaccinated people.

“Barangay captains, you’re put on notice and the order for you is to find out the persons who are not compliant with the laws, or their refusal to have the vaccines,” he said. “You can actually prevent them from leaving the house.”  

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Alexei B. Nograles said separately in a regular news conference on Wednesday that the imposition of stricter rules for unvaccinated people across the country is among the “possible topics” in a Cabinet meeting on Jan. 6.

Metro mayors recently signed a resolution asking them to pass local laws that will restrict the movement of unvaccinated residents. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza 

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