Gamboa orders police to secure medics, other health workers

PHILIPPINE National Police chief General Archie Francisco F. Gamboa yesterday ordered all local police units across the country to secure doctors and other medical staff and health workers following two separate violent acts committed against the frontliners.

“I have directed all local police units to provide every possible assistance and security to medical staff and health workers following the two separate incidents of violent attacks in Cebu and Sultan Kudarat  in recent days,” said the PNP chief.

Police are still looking for a group of men who splashed “zonrox” on the face of a worker from the St. Louis Hospital in a public market in  President Quirino in Sultan, Kudarat last March 27. The victim was on his way to the hospital when attacked.

Nurses and doctors have also complained they are being subjected to threats and intimidation by some of their neighbors for being medical workers.

“At this time of national health emergency, the Philippine National Police stands doubly committed to apply the full might of the law against any person who will lay hands on our health workers, thus, we shall do whatever it takes to protect them from crime, violence, and any form of oppression and discrimination,” he added.

Gen. Gamboa said that the government has provided 16 daily bus routes around Metro Manila and its suburbs to shuttle health workers to and from their duty stations.

“For added peace of mind of our health workers, PNP personnel manning Quarantine Control Stations are under instructions to extend utmost assistance to them, to include escorting them to their assigned hospitals, if need be.

“This is a duty that we in the police service must extend to our fellow frontliners who stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the Filipino people in this global battle against the COVID-19 pandemic,” he emphasized.

Gen. Gamboa said that under the guidance of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease, PNP units manning Quarantine Control Points are under strict orders to guarantee safe and unimpeded passage of food products, basic and essential commodities and authorized personnel categorized in the medical, agricultural, industrial and utilities sectors, subject to existing biosafety and quarantine protocols.

He explained that to ensure uniform implementation of IATF-MEID guidelines, all QCPs at the barangay level must be coordinated with the Municipal Joint Task Group and directly supervised by the PNP Unit Commander or Chief of Police. Gen. Gamboa’s directives are being fully implemented by the Joint Task Force Corona Virus Shield.

During the first three weeks of the Enhanced Community Quarantine in Luzon, Gen. Gamboa said police have already arrested and charged in court 593 persons for hoarding, profiteering and manipulation of prices of consumer goods, medical supplies and other commodities.

“To help mitigate the effects of this national emergency to the local economy and domestic consumer market, the PNP will step up police operations in support of DTI to strictly enforce the price act and pertinent provisions of the Bayanihan Act of 2020 even as I urge traders, retailers and businessmen to heed President Duterte’s call ‘...hindi ngayon ang panahon para kumita lalo na ang pagsasamantala’,” he said.