Crime rate in the Philippines was cut by more than half, just 18 days since Luzon and parts of Visayas and Mindanao were placed under enhanced community quarantine to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), a police official said.
Police Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, commander of Joint Task Force Corona Virus Shield (JTF CV Shield), said the incidence of crimes against property declined by 53 percent nationwide over the last 18 days compared to the 18 days prior to the quarantine period.
The crime against property covers robbery, theft, and carjacking, which the PNP considers, the “barometer of peace and order,” Eleazar said.
“Bumaba naman po ang lebel ng krimen natin for the past 18 days po natin (Our crime rate declined over the last 18 days.),” said Eleazar in an interview on DZMM radio on Saturday.
Eleazar said the highest decline was recorded in Luzon at 60 percent.
A Luzon-wide lockdown took effect on March 17, restricting over 50 million people to stay in their homes.
The enhanced community quarantine also suspended school, public transport and work, except for health workers, law enforcers, public safety officials and those in the cargo, retail and delivery business, among others.
Eleazar said a 46-percent drop in criminality was also recorded in the Visayas, where parts have also enforced restricted travel. A decline of 46 percent was seen in Mindanao.
“Gusto nga natin ma-sustain ‘yan kaya tayo nagbabantay sa mga naguudyok sa mga may sariling agenda (We want to sustain this, that’s why we’re monitoring those with their own agenda stoking disorder.),” said Eleazar.
The police official cited the incident in Quezon City, were a group of residents recently took to the streets to protest what they claimed was the lack of government aid among those who had lost livelihood because of the lockdown.
Authorities, meanwhile, said leftist groups had organized the gathering, which led to arrests.
This prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to address the nation on April 1, warning those who would start disorder that they would be dealt with.
He also told state troops that if their lives are on the line, they could shoot the troublemakers.
Eleazar said police would continue to monitor those who might be planning to start violence.
“Gusto natin ipakita natin sa lahat, hindi uubra na sa pagkakataon na emergency situation na ganito may mga ganyan na testing the waters kumbaga para tignan kung puwede mag-aklas mga tao dahil magkakaproblema (We want to show everyone, testing the waters like this when we are in an emergency situation won’t work because there will be a problem.),” he said.
“Makonsiyensya naman po kayo, kung ang habol niyo ay manggulo para masabi na palpak ang ating pamahalaan pero nakita po natin ‘yan, lokal na pamahalaan, pambansang pamahalaan talagang iniisip kapakanan ng kababayan pero hinihingi po natin kooperasyon sakripisyo ng lahat, makakaraos din po tayo (Please think twice if you want to start disorder to show that government is failing, because you can see that the local government, national government is thinking of the welfare of our people, we want to ask for the cooperation and sacrifice of the public, we’ll get through this.),” Eleazar said./Stacy Ang