Philippine National Police Deputy for Operations Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar (File photo)

MANILA — The Philippine National Police has arrested a total of 17,039 persons nationwide for violating the guidelines of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), a ranking police official said on Monday.

Based on the data from March 17 to 29 provided by Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, PNP Deputy for Operations, 7,627 persons arrested were from Luzon, 2,521 were from the National Capital Region, and the 6,891 others from the different parts of the country.

The Luzon-wide quarantine period began on March 16.

He said 48,273 persons were warned for their violations on the lockdown while 3,777 individuals were fined.

Overall, the report showed that 69,089 people violated the ECQ guidelines.

Eleazar, also commander of the Joint Task Force Corona Virus Shield (JTF CV Shield), said they considered the appeal of the local government units (LGUs) not to be lenient on curfew violators, citing their own dilemma in convincing their constituents to follow the ECQ imposed in the entire Luzon to contain the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

"Just imagine if, shall we say a quarter of these violators are already virus carriers, they will not only endanger the health and the lives of our policemen and other people manning the quarantine control points but also the health workers and other front-liners who are exempted from the quarantine,” Eleazar said.

He said based on the PNP assessment, the number of curfew violators will just continue to rise if the police will be compassionate on the violators.

“This will definitely defeat the purpose of the declaration of the enhanced community quarantine which President (Rodrigo) Duterte approved purposely to contain the Covid-19,” Eleazar said.

“Our message to the public is clear, we will continue to arrest any person who will violate the curfew,” he added.

He said all the arrested violators will be taken to the nearest police stations for investigation and filing of the cases.

Eleazar reminded the unit commanders to not impose physical punishment on violators.

Meanwhile, PNP arrested a total of 593 people for hoarding, profiteering, and manipulation of the prices of various products in connection with some sellers of disinfectant and medical supplies.

Some 6,837 public utility vehicles were also apprehended in connection with the ECQ. (PNA)