PNP, AFP men’s lives at stake, too, as they enforce ‘Community Quarantine’

THE lives and health of soldiers and policemen ordered to fully enforce the ‘community quarantine’ in Metro Manila are at stake too as they try to confront an unseen enemy: possible COVID-19 carrier that may try to enter or leave the metropolis, officials told the Journal Group yesterday.

This was proven in the case of two San Juan City policemen who went after a suspected COVID-19 carrier after she tried to escape while about to be escorted to the Quirino Hospital in Quezon City last Thursday afternoon, National Capital Region Police Office director, Major General Debold M. Sinas said.

It turned out that the female patient had tested positive for COVID-19 but refused to be quarantined and fled to St. Luke’s-BGC Hospital in Taguig City on board her wagon. She later parked her vehicle at the hospital basement where she was traced by the San Juan City police.

Sinas said that after she refused to yield, the woman was ordered arrested and taken to the Quezon City Memorial Medical Center by two policemen. The woman’s husband was also placed under quarantine while the two policemen were ordered to undergo self-quarantine.

The NCRPO director said they also have to protect their officers in lieu of the fact that they would be dealing too with possible COVID-19 carriers as they start  manning checkpoints in areas to and from Metro Manila as part of the Duterte government’s ‘community quarantine’ program.

Police will also ensure stringent social distancing measures in Metro Manila for the next 30-days and will prohibit mass gatherings, either planned or spontaneous. Sinas vowed to order the arrest of people who will violate the ‘community quarantine’ program and charge them with violation of the quarantine law and other provisions of the Revised Penal Code.

Gen. Gamboa said around 40,000 policemen are being deployed in Metro Manila to enforce the government order aimed at preventing the spread of the deadly COVID-19 disease.

The PNP chief said that the bulk of the force will come from the NCRPO while the rest will be from the PNP National Headquarters in Camp Crame. He also placed the NCRPO and the Police Regional Office 3 in Central Luzon, PRO4-A in Calabarzon region, PRO4-B in Mimaropa region and PRO5 in Bicol region under full alert since Friday last week.

The Armed Forces National Capital Region Joint Task Force will be providing assistance to the PNP to prevent the spread of the disease, said AFP chief, Gen. Felimon Santos.

PNP Director for Operations, Major Gen.  Emmanuel Luis D. Licup issued the memorandum placing the five regional offices under full alert citing President Duterte’s declaration of a public health emergency in the country and the  community quarantine of Metro Manila from March 15 to April 14 to stem the COVID-19 outbreak.

PRO3 director, Brigadier Gen. Rhodel O. Sermonia, PRO4-B director, Brig. Gen. Nicerio D. Obaob, PRO4-A director, Brig. Gen. Vicente D. Danao Jr. and PRO5 director, Brig. Gen. Anthony S. Alcañeses said they would be seeing to it that measures would be in place to prevent the unauthorized movement of people from their regions to the metropolis.

Sinas also said that people who will resist the ‘community quarantine’ to be enforced in Metro Manila starting Sunday midnight will be arrested.

Under the community quarantine, land, domestic air, and domestic sea travel to and from Metro Manila will be suspended starting March 15 until April 14. However, those who will be able to present Company Identification Cards and other proof that they are working in Metro Manila but are living outside of NCR will be exempted from the order.