THE public should not compare the Philippine National Police’s house-to-house visits of persons who might have had contact with coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) patients with Oplan Tokhang, where police visited houses of individuals suspected to be involved in the illegal drug trade.
Police Regional Office 7 Brig. Gen. Albert Ignatius Ferro said there is no reason for the public to be afraid as police will be accompanied by health personnel from the Cebu City Government, analysts, civilian interviewers and members of the military.
He also clarified that they will not go to a house unless they have confirmation that an occupant had contact with a person who tested positive for Covid-19.
“It is being exaggerated that it’s like a tokhang. No. It will be a simple interviewing of concerned persons because we will not go to houses if we have no basis that these people have been engaged with a positive or confirmed individual. People have their own opinion and I respect their opinion, but this is for the good of the majority,” Ferro said.
The police official urged the public to cooperate; otherwise, they could face charges for violating Republic Act 11332, or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act.
“I encourage the Cebuanos to help and collaborate because that’s the only way to graduate from ECQ (enhanced community quarantine) or MECQ (modified enhanced community quarantine). If we could cooperate, we can arrest the spike of Covid-19 cases,” Ferro said.
He stressed the urgency of the matter as many more Cebuanos would suffer should the MECQ continue after July.
Police have assured to provide protection to anyone who is taunted or mocked for his or her health condition.
Ferro is also confident that contact tracing will be done efficiently in the coming days and it will stop the number of Covid-19 cases in the city from rising.
Meanwhile, Cebu City Councilor Joel Garganera, who was recently appointed deputy chief implementer of the Inter-Agency Task Force Emergency Operations Center, confirmed that police and military personnel and members of the Bureau of Fire Protection are working in tandem with employees of the City Health Department and job order personnel who belong to the City’s contact tracing teams. (AYB, PAC / CBQ)