MANILA — Cavite Governor Jonvic Remulla said Friday he suspended the operations of SM City Trece Martires due to an alleged violation of a quarantine pass system meant to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Remulla said he sent undercover policemen to malls on Wednesday to observe adherence to the "q-pass" system that aims to limit crowds at potential hotbeds for coronavirus transmission.
"Isang video ang aking natanggap kung saan makikita ang direktang paglabag ng SM City Trece Martires sa Q-Pass Policy ng Cavite… Dahil dito ay nag-issue ako ng isang Executive Order suspending the operations of SM City Trece Martires until further notice," he said on Facebook.
(I received a video which shows the direct violation of SM City Trece Martires of the Q-Pass Policy of Cavite. Because of this, I issued an executive order suspending the operations of SM City Trece Martires until further notice.)
"Collective responsibility means if we arrest the small people in the streets for face mask violation or public intoxication, then we should also close down the big malls if they violate the Q-Pass Policy set by the LGU. The rule applies to EVERYONE," he added.
The SM City Trece Martires said the breach was "an isolated case" and only one of its entrances failed to follow the quarantine pass policy.
Nonetheless, the mall management said it would comply with the suspension of its operations.
"We will immediately discuss the corrective measures with the Local Government Unit so we can quickly reopen the mall to serve all our customers. We seek the understanding of everyone at this time," said the SM City Trece Martires.
Cavite, the most populous province in Calabarzon region, has recorded over 1,000 cases of COVID-19, up from 200 cases before its general community quarantine started in mid-May, said Remulla.
Many of the new COVID-19 patients are asymptomatic and had frequently traveled to Metro Manila, the region with the highest tally of the respiratory disease, said the governor.
"Guidelines are meant to put order into controlling the pandemic situation. For those who think that the worst is over, you are mistaken. IT IS GOING TO GET WORSE before things get better," Remulla said.
"We should be responsible for each other. We should look after the safety of one another," he told his constituents.
Cavite is home to some 3.7 million people, according to 2015 data from the Philippine Statistics Authority.
–With reports from Michael Delizo and Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News