Barangay 'tanod' pressed into quarantine drive

JOINT Task Force COVID Shield commander Lieutenant General Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar yesterday said they have started mobilizing barangay ‘tanods’  for the strict implementation of minimum quarantine protocols like wearing of face masks and social distancing to help contain the deadly virus in the country.

The official said all police commanders across the country have been ordered to tap the help of barangay security officers in the strict enforcement of the minimum health standard protocols in their respective communities after PNP chief General Archie Francisco F. Gamboa ordered the release of a memorandum on the full enforcement of the quarantine rules at the barangay level to effectively fight COVID-19.

Lt. Gen. Eleazar  said the mobilization of barangay tanods will be done through the police Quarantine Rules Supervisors (QRS) who would take the lead in the enforcement of mandatory wearing of face masks, physical distancing and other health safety protocols as approved by  Gen. Gamboa.

“The designation of QRS, or the PNP’s COVID Focal Persons, in every barangay in the country will help strengthen our fight to prevent the spread and further transmission of the coronavirus by making sure that the minimum health standard protocols would be properly and strictly enforced down to the barangay level,”  he said.

President Duterte earlier ordered the PNP to strictly enforce the wearing of face mask and physical distancing due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases.

The active involvement of local government units will boost the synchronized effort of the national government and LGUs to effectively curtail the spread of the virus.

As a result, officials approved the recommendation of the Joint Task Force COVID Shield to designate a QRS in the country's more than 42,000 barangays in order to lead the barangay tanods and the city and municipal Public Order and Safety Personnel in the enforcement of quarantine rules.

Based on the memorandum issued by PNP Director for Operations and JTF COVID Shield vice-commander Major Gen. Emmanuel Luis D. Licup, the local PNP units and the LGUs must have a close coordination to ensure the proper enforcement of the quarantine rules at the barangay levels.

Licup directed the QRS or PNP COVID Focal Persons in the barangays to conduct the following:

1.    Supervise the Quarantine Control Points in the barangays to ensure proper implementation of quarantine protocols;

2.    Coordinate with the Punong Barangay the implementation of the existing PNP-LGU arrangements/agreements to the implementation of the localized community quarantine protocols and guidelines for COVID-19 cases at the barangay level;

3.    Strict enforcement of quarantine rules through the implementation of minimum health standard protocols such as but not limited to the following: social distancing, mandatory wearing of face masks, personal hygiene etiguette, temperature scanning, required capacity in permitted establishments and vehicle passenger loads; and prohibition of mass gathering including drinking session and gossiping on the streets and especially in public markets and other places of convergence

The PNP was also ordered to partner with LGUs in the continuous enforcement of local ordinances such as curfew and liquor ban; identification and monitoring of barangay residents on home quarantine if there is any; to monitor and secure health/quarantine facility in the barangay if there is any; support contact tracing teams of the barangay; facilitate the cascading of the guidelines that will be issued for effective enforcement of quarantine rules at the barangay level and; conduct regular assessment/evaluation of the situation in the barangay, and further come up with recommendations relative to quarantine protocols and implementation.

Eleazar said that compliance with the memorandum is highly expected in areas where there are high cases of COVID-19 infection such as Metro Manila and Central Visayas.

“We in the JTF COVID Shield believes that our strength as a nation to defeat the COVID-19 depends on the cooperation and partnership of all the sectors concerned. With the PNP and the LGUs down to the barangay level now working together, we are confident that this will contribute a lot in preventing the spread of the virus,” he said.