JOINT Task Force COVID Shield commander, Lieutenant General Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar yesterday paid tribute to more than 74,000 troops who continue to man Quarantine Control Points and enforce health protocols specifically the wearing of face masks and social distancing in public to help prevent the further spread of the unseen deadly virus.
The official maintained that despite the easing of community quarantine restrictions in most part of the country, a total of 63,418 policemen have been stationed in QCPs to prevent the entry and exit of Unauthorized Persons Outside of Residence and at the same time conduct other operations and other activities related to the government’s response on COVID-19.
He added that the police personnel are being assisted by 10,968 personnel from the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine Coast Guard and the Bureau of Fire Protection.
The JTF COVID Shield is the enforcement arm of the National Task Force on COVID-19 and Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of the Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF-MEID). Eleazar said members of the PNP, the AFP, the PCG and the BFP have their own shared responsibilities in keeping the virus from spreading.
Lt. Gen. Eleazar said the policemen are manning the 3,217 QCPs in Metro Manila and the rest of the country and performing other duties relating to the containment of the movement of the people in order to effectively address the transmission of the coronavirus. Some soldiers are also assigned to supervise and man QCPs.
The number of the QCPs increased anew after Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal were reverted to Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) by President Duterte in response to the call of medical workers last week until this coming August 18.
He added that members of the PNP Highway Patrol Group headed by Brigadier Gen. Eliseo DC Cruz are also manning 112 special lanes for cargo vehicles or the Dedicated Control Points (DCPs).
Most of the Coast Guard personnel are patrolling the seas to prevent the unauthorized entry of people in various areas where community quarantine protocols are being implemented by local government units.
On the other hand, BFP personnel are involved in disinfection activities and in responding to the needs of communities.
“Since March 17, we have been actively performing the duties and responsibilities assigned to us and keep on improving our strategies on the ground so that all our sacrifices will not go to waste. The mission is to contain the movement of the people in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and eventually save as many of our kababayan from infection,” he said.
Aside from manning checkpoints and enforcement of quarantine rules, the official said there are also personnel of the JTF COVID Shield who are tasked to the queries and complaints of the people from their hotlines.
Based on the JTF COVID Shield data, Eleazar said they have already responded to 11,256 inquiries and complaints through phone calls from their hotlines as of August 7.
The JTF COVID Shield hotlines are 0998-8490013 and 09175382495. As approved by PNP chief, General Archie Francisco F. Gamboa, PNP hotlines are also being attended to if the inquiries and complaints are related to checkpoints, delivery of goods and other activities relating to the enforcement of the quarantine rules.
He said 1,903 inquiries and complaints were also responded to through the JTF COVID Shield electronical mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Most of the calls and message we received are relating to inquiries and request for assistance for the movement of the people and movement of goods. We are also receiving complaints relating to the enforcement of quarantine rules,” said Eleazar.
The Joint Task Force COVID Shield commander vowed that policemen, soldiers, Coast Guard sailors and firemen will continue to be on the frontline in order to protect the country from being overwhelmed by the coronavirus infection.
In return, Eleazar urged the public to cooperate by following at least the minimum health safety standard protocols that include wearing of face masks, unnecessary travel and observing physical distancing.