COVID-19 duties taking its toll on cops

BEING exposed to the elements while trying to cope with the presence of hardheaded Filipinos who continue to ignore the Enhanced Community Quarantine in Luzon and other parts of the country is already taking its toll on members of the Philippine National Police specifically those manning Quarantine Control Points or QCPs whose patience are also being tested by quarantine violators, the Journal Group was told yesterday,

Proof of this is the presence of 67 PNP personnel who have tested positive for COVID-19 since last Saturday as well as the 737 others who are undergoing treatment or are being monitored for COVID-19. They include 593 Suspected Persons Under Investigation; 74 Probable PUIs; and the 67 Confirmed COVID-19 positive personnel.

PNP chief, General Archie Francisco F. Gamboa has ordered the PNP Health Service to ensure that the policemen afflicted by the virus would be properly taken care of and placed under daily monitoring along with their families.

PNP spokesman, Brigadier General Bernard M. Banac said 37 police personnel have also been admitted to the hospital with 21 of them still undergoing validation if they need full hospitalization or can go on home-quarantine. Another 119  are already undergoing home-quarantine, he added.

So far, eight police personnel have recovered from the deadly virus while three died after contracting the disease.

Banac agreed that exposure to unusually heavy foot and commuter traffic is taking its toll on PNP personnel assigned in QCPs. Apart from the possibility they will catch the virus while dealing with possible carriers, policemen wearing their heavy uniforms and protective gears while manning the QCPs are also exposed to the elements, under the scorching sun from 9 in the morning till 3 in the afternoon, and sometimes have to brave rains or even a slight drizzle.

Banac said that PNP leadership is pro-active in implementing COVID-19 control measures in accordance to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).

“We have emphasized that that our fight against the pandemic will be hampered if our front-liners, our PNP and Armed Forces personnel tasked to maintain law and order and our medical workers, tasked to save lives will be overcome by COVID-19,” the PNP spokesperson said.

Last week, Gen. Gamboa visited the National Capital Region Police Office headquarters in Camp Bagong Diwa in Bicutan, Taguig City to check the status of his men and inspect the Special Care Facilities inside the camp which was ordered set up by NCRPO director, Major Gen. Debold M. Sinas to cater to the needs of Metro Manila policemen.

The PNP-HS is also continuously monitoring PNP personnel who have completed COVID-19 Home Quarantine. They include 94 PNP personnel considered as Probable Persons Under Investigation or PUIs with mild/severe/critical with inconclusive, inadequate or no available testing.

The 94 consists of 9 Police Commissioned Officers, 71 Police Non-Commissioned Officers and four Non-Uniformed Personnel.

Another 168 personnel composed of 20 PCOs, 145 PNCOs and three NUPs were recommended as Suspected Persons Under Investigation or PUIs with mild/severe/critical who still has to be tested.

Gen. Gamboa has also instructed PNP Highway Patrol Group director, Brig. Gen. Eliseo DC Cruz to ensure that only authorized vehicles and individuals will be allowed to travel to EDSA and other major thoroughfares in Metro Manila.

“In addition to the ECQ Policies on our Dedicated Control Points, the PNP-HPG will inspect private vehicles. If the driver or any of the passengers is not authorized to leave their homes, traffic violation receipt will be issued to them,” said Cruz.

More than 70 violators have been issued Ordinance Violation Receipts or Temporary Operator’s Permit by the PNP-HPG, the Metro Manila Development Authority and the Land Transportation Office since Wednesday.

Banac also extended the PNP leadership’s appreciation to people who continuously support PNP front-liners.