Philippines:PNP Help Fight Coronavirus COVID19 Pandemic in Accordance to WHO& DOH Emergency Response
PNP to help with 40,000 cops for Metro Manila lockdown to fight Coronavirus COVID 19 Outbreak
The Philippine National Police (PNP) assures to provide security in case a lockdown in Metro Manila is imposed as a preventive measure against the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
PNP Chief Police General Archie Gamboa said they are ready to deploy 38,000 cops to ensure that peace and order is maintained in the face of the health crisis.
“We will be utilizing the NCRPO, (it’s) strength of around 28,000,” Gamboa said.
“Here in Camp Crame, it is around 10,000 so more or less we have 30,000 to 40,000 personnel to utilize in case this thing would come up,” he added.
Gamboa stressed, a lockdown of a particular city should get a green light from the Department of Health (DOH), the authority in handling health situation across the country.
President Rodrigo Duterte recently turned down the proposal to place the entire Metro Manila on lockdown arguing that the situation is still under control though he declared class suspension in all of Metro Manila schools until Saturday (March 14).
Since school children are supposedly at home, the PNP assured to assist mall security personnel to bar students from entering malls and Internet cafés where they could possibly contract the virus.
“The president required us to convince students to stay at home. (But of course,) in as much as we can do, we cannot restrain (them),” Gamboa explained.
“So far, nobody is resisting because it’s everybody’s concern,” he added.
Regular activities at Camp Crame have been postponed such as Pulisteniks and Zumba sessions where crowd of police personnel join.
The PNP also mulls on changing its routine flag ceremony on Mondays as a measure against the spread of COVID-19.
“(We might suspend the conduct of) pass in review and all of these things are being done by the Philippine National Police just to prevent also contamination or infection if there’s any,” the PNP Chief said.
Gamboa has also ordered the procurement of 300 sets of protective gear in preparation for the deployment of NCRPO personnel who will be deployed to conduct contact tracing.
The PNP is also preparing a quarantine area for their personnel should they require it.
“(We could do house quarantine. If it’s needed to be done inside camp, and if it’s) very immediate then we will come up a specific place for quarantine,” General Gamboa concluded.
PNP’s CBRNE-trained personnel on standby for deployment vs. nCoV
Some 105 personnel of the Philippine National Police (PNP) are ready to assist other government agencies in the repatriation of Filipinos from China and other countries due to the 2019 novel coronavirus virus spread.
PNP chief, Gen. Archie Gamboa on Monday said their personnel are ready for deployment once called upon by the Department of Health to help in controlling the spread of the deadly virus.
“The deployment of PNP personnel is primarily bent on DOH kasi sila ‘yung overall in-charge nito (because they are overall in-charge). We do not move on our own because they are the authority,” Gamboa said.
The chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosives (CBRNE)-trained personnel belong to the SAF (Special Action Force), Health Service, Crime Lab and EOD-K9 units.
The doctors from the PNP Health Service would help in the mandatory quarantine procedures of returning Filipinos from countries affected by nCoV, Gamboa said.
“The PNP will help but we’re just presenting na meron kaming ganitong pwersa (this kind of force or unit) whom they can use,” Gamboa said.
Gamboa also directed regional police units to make available individual face masks for all police personnel and assure the availability of hand sanitizers in offices and facilities.
Gamboa said the PNP is also studying the possibility of implementing a temporary lockdown on all its training facilities including the Philippine National Police Academy and the National Training Police Institute to ensure the safety and protection of cadets and trainees.
“As I have said, we are considering kasi nga kailangan talagang ng assessment ng experts (we need the assessment from the experts). You just do not execute something kasi (because) we also have to balance. It might create panic or we might be overreacting so dapat evidence-based kumbaga,” Gamboa said.
PNP activates anti-coronavirus team
The Philippine National Police has activated a health team to assist in containing the spread of the novel coronavirus in the country.
PNP chief Police Gen. Archie Gamboa said the team is composed of 105 personnel and volunteers who are all trained in Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Explosive defense.
“The Philippine National Police has made available a team of CBRNE-trained medical personnel from the PNP Health Service who may be deployed to assist concerned agencies in the repatriation of Filipinos based in China and other countries affected by the 2019 nCoV who will wish to return to the country subject to mandatory quarantine procedure,” said Gamboa.
Gamboa said the activation of their CBRNE teams is in compliance with President Duterte’s directive to the PNP to actively assist in containing the spread of the virus in the country.
“We are just awaiting for the Department of Health because the deployment of the PNP will primarily depend on DoH because it is the one which is in charge of this,” said Gamboa.
The CBRNE teams are equipped with necessary medical materials that include the protection gear, monitoring equipment, and basic medicines and paraphernalia.
While admitting that the expertise of the CBRNE teams is not on nCoV response, Gamboa explained that the protection gear and some trainings could apply, especially in the quarantine procedures of returning Filipino workers from infected areas and even foreigners suspected to be infected by the virus.
“Their training protection gear is for warfare but equally they are protected to they are useful,” said Gamboa. “We are just sending a message that we have this capability and these teams are ready for deployment,” he added.
WEAR AND WASH POLICY
The PNP has also implemented a wear a mask and wash policy for all its operating units as part of the measure to protect policemen from the coronavirus.
Gamboa said that while does not think that the virus could easily infect policemen, he stressed that there is a need to protect them as precautionary measure.
“What should be considered is just the protection of policemen,” said Gamboa.
Gamboa made the statement amid concerns on the welfare of policemen directly dealing with Chinese in Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators-related operations. The Anti-Kidnapping Group and the Southern Police District usually deal with POGO-related criminal incidents.
“The basic thing that they could do is just to wear masks and wash their hands after the operation,” said Gamboa. He added that despite the virus threat, police will continue their active operations against illegal gambling, prostitution, and kidnappings.
Gamboa has directed all regional and national support unit directors to make individual face masks for all PNP personnel available and provide hand sanitizers in PNP offices and facilities.
“In addition, the PNP is seriously considering the temporary lockdown of all our training facilities to ensure the safety and protection of cadets and trainees in these facilities,” said Gamboa. (Aaron Recuenco)