President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday ordered the assignment of at least two police officers in each quarantine hotel following public uproar over reports of travelers breaching COVID-19 isolation protocols.
Duterte said police officers would be responsible for advising those under quarantine to follow government guidelines or face arrest since hotel staff “cannot be doing the police work for the government.”
"So pulis na lang, two policemen assigned to itong hotels that are quarantined and they also have to keep their --- mindful of their duty to advise the person," Duterte said in his late-night televised meeting with select Cabinet officials.
"At kung magpipilit, then the power to arrest them, no doubt about it," he added.
Interior Sec. Eduardo Año said the Philippine National Police has prepared the deployment of uniformed personnel to quarantine hotels.
The move came after the Department of Tourism confirmed that a woman who came from the U.S. cut short her quarantine to party in Makati City's hip Poblacion District. The woman was later identified to be Gwyneth Chua and tested positive for COVID-19.
Chua's companions also got infected with the virus.
Earlier this week, the DOT also reported another incident of quarantine breach, this time a woman who skipped her supposed facility-based isolation and went straight to her condominium unit.
The woman, according to Tourism Sec. Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, even got a massage.
International travelers are required to undergo facility-based quarantine upon arrival in the Philippines as part of the government's measures to control the spread of COVID-19.