Sinas: Stay home, avoid places of convergence

NATIONAL Capital Region Police Office director, Major General Debold M. Sinas has called on Metro Manila residents anew to stay home and avoid places of convergence including bars and other entertainment places as much as possible to help prevent further spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus.

Already on full alert since last Thursday, the NCRPO is the main police unit fully enforcing the month-long ‘community quarantine’ and manning dozens of checkpoints in Metro Manila ordered put up by President Duterte.

Philippine National Police chief, General Archie Francisco F. Gamboa, also had called on the public to please bear with the temporary inconvenience they may encounter as police and military troops fully enforce the month-long ‘community quarantine’ in the metropolis.

The NCRPO and the Armed Forces under Gen. Felimon Santos Jr. also have started fully enforcing an 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew in the metropolis since last Sunday as part of government measures to battle the virus.  However, workers and those involved in the provision of essential services as well as residents getting groceries, food or medicines are exempted from the curfew.

"The bottom line is people are advised to stay home. Kung wala kang gagawin, just stay home," said Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo M. Año.

Unlike government checkpoints which usually mushroom in every election, officers manning the checkpoints, however, will not only be sporting high-powered rifles but will most specifically be wearing face masks and equipped with other body protection they need in case they really encounter a COVID-9 carrier.

However, they will be guided by previous strict checkpoint guidelines issued to prevent possible abuses as they prevent the unauthorized entry of people to and from the metropolis.

The PNP says that all checkpoints must be situated in well-lit areas, with signage identifying the police and military unit manning the checkpoint as well as the name and contact number of the election supervisor in the area.

Soldiers and policemen manning the checkpoints are also required to be in complete uniform with the corresponding nameplate not being covered by a jacket. The uniformed policemen and soldiers are under strict instructions to be courteous to motorists at all times.

Maj. Gen. Sinas  said they will fully enforce the order of President Duterte and vowed to arrest people who will violate the quarantine law.

“Those who will violate the established quarantine procedures will be arrested and charged for violation of the Quarantine Law,” said the NCRPO chief. He added that they are also studying other provisions of the Revised Penal Code that will apply on the violators so that others will be served a lesson.

The NCRPO chief said that following President Dutete’s decision to cancel classes in all levels in the metropolis in the aftermath of the NCOV-19 threat, he and his five district directors and other staff agreed to enforce a series of actions in order to protect Metro Manila residents and visitors.

“I have placed the NCRPO in full alert status, with the mindset of utilizing our resources in NCRPO to help ensure the prevention of the virus' transmission and immediate response to any incident that may transpire in Metro Manila. The NCRPO is ready for possible coordination of DOH for contact tracing, we are certain about that,” Sinas said.

He also said that NCRPO personnel are already cautioning minors who are in places of convergence or violating the curfew to go back home. “In the first place, classes are suspended for them to stay at home and not to hang out or meet with their friends. I call on everyone especially the parents to keep an eye on your children. Let them stay at home and keep them away from places like internet cafe, markets and malls,” said Sinas.

The 2-star police general also said that he has advised all his chiefs of police to conduct their own Oplan” Bandillo which refers to their program to enhance community awareness and disseminate all measures to address a particular threat.

“They are coordinating with inter-agencies, stakeholders and barangays to carry out all my instructions.  Similarly, we are also fully and strictly implementing curfew hours for minors at night.

Again, we appeal to the public to stay home and avoid places of convergence,” Sinas said.

In the wake of the NCOV-19 threat, Sinas likewise ordered the proper  sanitation and disinfection of schools and other places in their areas.
 
Sinas said that further, the 1-meter distance has already been applied in all Metro Manila police stations and precincts where police have been advised to keep a 1-meter distance from complainants and other persons seeking police  blotter or other reports needed in particular for insurance claim.
 
“ With the locked-up cells, we also want to advise our public to limit possible visits to our detainees. Just the same, for their safety and the safety of their loved ones inside the cells, they must avoid too much or close contact and maintain 1a -meter distance from each other,” he said.  #