PNP ready for total lockdown if ordered by Duterte

Archie Francisco F. Gamboa
PNP chief, General Archie Francisco F. Gamboa Photo by JON-JON REYES

PHILIPPINE National Police chief, General Archie Francisco F. Gamboa yesterday said they are fully prepared to place Luzon and other parts of the country in a total lockdown to stop the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Philippine National Police stands squarely in support of President Rodrigo R Duterte’s intention to decisively enforce a total lockdown for the entire period under Enhanced Community Quarantine,” said the top cop in a press statement.

He added that some  Local Government Executives have in fact signified approval to more radical proposals to impose tougher measures against violators of the ECQ.

“Maybe some violators feel they can get away with our enforcement of quarantine rules and local ordinances, but only because we are not under ideal conditions to detain all law offenders, except to complete the mandatory requirements of documentation and booking.

Trust me, their brush with the law today will not go unpunished. There will be a day of reckoning for all lawbreakers when we shall find the appropriate time to directly file criminal charges in court to begin their agony of criminal prosecution,” Gen. Gamboa said.

The PNP chief likewise explained that they have reacted with compassion to certain situations involving people’s need for food and basic necessities and will continue to be reasonable and fair along this matter.

“ But because so many people are wilfully violating government orders to remain indoors, their bold acts of disobedience are making containment efforts against the virus less effective.  Worse and more troublesome for the police, it is taking its toll on police personnel manning the Quarantine Control Points who risk exposure to unusually heavy crowding of unauthorized persons.,” he said.

As of yesterday, the PNP chief said there had been 65 cases of confirmed infection among PNP personnel, 40 of whom remain in sick bay, 14 are under home quarantine, eight have recovered, while three have succumbed.

He said that a crackdown on unauthorized travel is now being imposed by the PNP Highway Patrol Group, the National Capital Region Police Office and the Metro Manila Development Authority along EDSA and other major thoroughfares in Metro Manila.

I “have issued instructions to all Police Regional Offices to strictly implement the same prohibition in their areas of responsibility following the guidelines of the IATF-MEID that categorically identifies Authorized Persons Outside of Residence, with emphasis on special consideration for frontline workers in the medical and healthcare, security, essential services, agricultural and utilities sectors,” Gen. Gamboa said.

In coordination with LGUs, PNP line units are also instructed to launch a crackdown on illegal activities, that constitute violation of rules on physical distancing and gathering of persons, including illegal cockfight, card games, mah-jong, and drinking sessions in public places,” he added.

I “call on all Regional Directors to put action to the strong words of the President. I expect all of you to support this. Finally, I share President Duterte’s call on all Filipinos for a little more sacrifice and greater optimism of better days ahead.

With our unity as a people who believe in God’s grace, together we will heal as one,”  he said.