NCR police under heightened alert

Third Anne Peralta-Malonzo

THE National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) has been placed under heightened alert over the prevailing threat posed by of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

“I have placed the NCRPO on heightened alert status, with the mindset of utilizing our resources in NCRPO to help ensure the prevention of the virus' transmission and immediate response to any incident that may transpire in Metro Manila,” NCRPO Director Debold Sinas said in a statement.

“The NCRPO is ready for possible coordination of DOH for contact tracing, we are certain about that. We will keep the public posted. We just seek for your calmness and vigilance. Guaranteed that NCRPO and other agencies concerned are doing our best to meet the challenge of COVID 19,” he added.

The number of Covid-19 cases in the country has increased to 49 as of Wednesday, March 11, 2020.

The DOH declared Code Red sub-level 1 alert.

Major General Benigno Durana Jr., chief of the PNP Directorate for Police Community Relations and PNP acting spokesperson, earlier said that at least six PNP personnel and one dependent of a PNP member are under close monitoring and home quarantine.

Major General Sinas said he instructed all police stations in Metro Manila to maintain a one-meter distance from complainants and visitors.

“Just the same, for their safety and the safety of their loved ones inside the cells, they must avoid too much or close contact and maintain one meter distance from each other,” he said.

“Consequently, all police districts will have their designated area for the quarantine of our personnel. PNP personnel who wish to conduct self-quarantine or who wish to be checked and monitored properly are welcome there. The isolated area will be manned by trained NCRPO nurses and doctors,” he added.

He also ensured the safety of police frontliners and first responders on possible cases of Covid-19 by providing them with masks, gloves and eyeglasses as their protective gear until further notice.

PNP Chief Archie Gamboa said in an interview he has already ordered the procurement of 300 sets of protective gear to ensure the safety of his men should they respond to suspected Covid-19 cases.

He said they will also adjust their activities inside the camp especially their Zumba exercise every Tuesday and Thursday and their flag raising ceremony every Monday in compliance with the proposed social distancing of the government to help stop the spread of the virus.

Gamboa said he has also ordered the identification of quarantine areas in PNP facilities should it be necessary.

Meanwhile, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology said 42 detention facilities in the NCR under their control will temporarily not accept visitors for its detainees to avoid them from being infected by the virus.

For its part, just like the PNP, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has also issued a moratorium on sending AFP personnel to foreign travels except when necessary, among other safeguards.

“We take very seriously and proactively the President’s declaration of the State of Public Health Emergency. Even before such issuance by the President, I have directed the AFP Health Services Command to institute preventive measures to ensure that military camps have the necessary and stringent safeguards from Covid-19 affectation,” AFP Chief of Staff Felimon Santos Jr. said.

“We are preparing for the possibility that AFP facilities and personnel may be tapped to provide assistance in the whole of government approach in combatting Covid-19 that has raised alarms worldwide,” he added. (SunStar Philippines)