Sen. Nancy Binay on Wednesday renewed her call to assign marshals in quarantine facilities following the viral incident of a woman breaking quarantine to party in Makati's hip Poblacion district days before testing positive for COVID-19.
Binay, who chairs the Senate Committee on Tourism, said deploying quarantine marshals instead of police officers would not only ensure law enforcement but also the proper implementation of public health measures.
President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday night ordered the deployment of at least two police officers in each quarantine hotel to ensure compliance to COVID-19 health protocols.
"Sa halip na mag-deploy tayo ng pulis na magbabantay sa mga quarantine facilities, mas mainam na itong mga marshals na lang para mas holistic ang approach," Binay said.
"Hindi lang nagbabantay sa mga potensyal na paglabag, kundi proactive na ini-improve ang system lalo na sa aspeto ng public health," he added.
Binay first made the call to assign marshals in quarantine hotels back in January 2021 following the death of flight attendant Christine Dacera in City Garden Grand Hotel, a quarantine facility, where she and her friends had a New Year's drinking party.
Binay proposed tapping barangay watchmen, assisted by a health officer, as marshals that will undergo briefing and training under the IATF and the Department of Tourism.
Aside from ensuring that health and safety protocols are enforced, these marshals can also be tasked with inspecting if quarantine facilities have proper waste disposal measures, she added.
Binay said the issue in quarantine protocol breaches is not of public order but of corruption, and police deployment alone cannot address it.
"This is, again, a public health issue, and we need public health experts. At best, what we need is a hybrid approach that would respond to the public safety and law enforcement aspects. Pero hindi lang dapat pulis," she said.
On Tuesday, the viral woman, identified as Gwyneth Chua, her parents, and several employees of Berjaya Hotel in Makati were charged over the quarantine breach. The hotel was also suspended after it admitted lapses in preventing the incident to happen.
Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri on Tuesday filed a bill that would impose stiffer penalties for violators of quarantine protocols.
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