PHILIPPINE National Police personnel have been ordered to strictly enforce the ‘community quarantine’ in Metro Manila even as PNP chief, General Archie Francisco F. Gamboa appealed to the public to bear with the temporary inconvenience they will be suffering as police and the military try to prevent the spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus in the metropolis.
“We are asking for the full cooperation of the public here and please bear with the temporary inconvenience as we help protect public health and public safety,” said Gen. Gamboa, the head of the police force tasked by President Duterte to enforce the ‘community quarantine’ in the metropolis to prevent the spread of the virus.
PNP Director for Police-Community Relations, Major Gen. Benigno B. Durana Jr. said police would be stricter in the implementation of the presidential order even as he bared that there are enough soldiers, policemen and other law enforcement agents to enforce the community quarantine.
“We are trying our best but our primary consideration is to prevent the spread of the virus. Definitely, we must admit that there will be a lot of inconvenience but I think the safety and protection of our people are paramount than the temporary convenience of our riding public,”Durana said.
Checkpoints have been set up by the National Capital Region Police Office headed by Major Gen. Debold M. Sinas in at least 56 major thoroughfares going in and out of Metro Manila. NCRPO agents are being assisted by troops from the Army, Air Force, Marines, Navy and the Coast Guard in manning the checkpoints ordered by President Duterte.
The Commander-in-Chief suspended land, domestic air and domestic sea travel to and from Metro Manila starting yesterday until April 14 as part of the government’s bid to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Yesterday, PNP Deputy Chief for Operations, Lieutenant Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar and Sinas inspected some checkpoints in the metropolis. Eleazar said police have been instructed to full observe all their operational procedures in dealing with the citizenry.
Sinas has ordered all his men manning checkpoints to implement the government guidelines and to fully observe courtesy in dealing with the public. He also advised his men to see to it that they will observe self-discipline and particularly wear safety masks and other protective equipment as they implement the checkpoints.
Absence of thermal scanner is a major problem of security forces assigned to check people entering or leaving Metro Manila as of yesterday. Police are strictly implementing the social distancing directive from the government and are checking the company IDs and/or certificates of employments of people being checked while passing along the boundaries.
Sinas said that being the ‘frontliners’ in checking the presence of possible NCOV019 couriers in the streets, they are ensuring that their personnel deployed in Quarantine Control Points or QCPs will be taking multi-vitamins and vitamin C to boost their immune system and maintain body resistance as they carry out their job while under the elements.
The NCRPO chief reminded his men who are manning their QCPs to always wear mask and protective eyeglass, practice hand hygiene with soap and water or alcohol-based sanitizers, maintain social distance to all vehicles carrying persons and ensure the ‘no-contact’ policy.
Taking the advise of NCRPO doctors, Sinas also told his men never to remove their masks, practice cough etiquette and immediately call the NCRPO COVID-19 hotlines the very moment they experience cough, fever and diarrhea.
He issued the series of instructions amid observations from the public and officials themselves regarding some deficiencies of officers manning the QCPs.
They include the presence of some policemen who are not in proper attire or those who have no masks, gloves and eye protectors.
Reports reaching the office of Gen. Gamboa also said that some QCP personnel are lax in their conduct of check-up and are not properly checking persons coming in NCR. There were also reports that some QCP personnel are allowing the entry of tricycles and motorcycles carrying two or more persons in their areas.
Sinas said he wants the full implementation of the ‘social distancing policy’ in Metro Manila including the 50 percent capacity load rule allowed on all public utility vehicles and the banning of riding-in-tandems in motorcycles unless the driver and his passenger are related to each other.
Sinas ordered all his field commanders to go after QCP personnel who reportedly are reluctant in implementing the travel guidelines and see to it that they will be properly supervised.