Lieutenant general Binag said the authorities decided to increase the number of police officers in crowded places such as markets, shopping centers, churches and ports, since social distancing measures were not being observed by shoppers in Divisoria market, according to the PNA news agency.
"We have doubled the deployment of cops and soldiers would also assist us in physical distancing patrols. This was what our chief PNP [Philippine National Police], Gen. Debold Sinas ordered. They have one-meter rattan sticks to enforce the physical distancing rule," Binag said, as cited by the PNA news agency.
Sinas said that the PNP would strictly control religious gatherings, to enforce the "no-caroling" and "no Christmas party" policy.
To date, Philippines has confirmed 435,413 COVID-19 cases, with a death toll of 8,446, according to the World Health Organization.