PNP says 2 cops died from Covid-19

Third Anne Peralta-Malonzo

TWO policemen had died from the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), the Philippine National Police (PNP) said on Friday.

PNP spokesperson Brigadier General Bernard Banac said the PNP’s Patient 13, a 46-year old policeman assigned in Laguna, and Patient 8, a 48-year old policeman assigned in Metro Manila lost their battle with the disease.

“PNP 13 was listed as person under monitoring and died last March 27 due to cardiac arrest. A post mortem examination was done and a week after his swab test, the result was released that he was positive of Covid-19,” said Banac.

“PNP-8 died yesterday, April 2. While on his duty last March 19, the patient experienced high fever and (was) immediately admitted to nearby hospital. He was then tested positive for the virus,” Banac added.

As of Friday, April 3, 13 PNP personnel have tested positive for the novel coronavirus or Sars-CoV-2, the infectious pathogen that causes Covid-19.

A total of 209 PNP personnel are listed as patients under investigation (PUIs) while 1,600 personnel are considered persons under monitoring (PUMs).

Banac said the Kiangan Billeting Center has already admitted nine PNP personnel listed as PUIs who were recommended to undergo self-quarantine.

PNP Chief Archie Gamboa said earlier Friday that his instructions were to assign only policemen aged 45 and below at checkpoints as the older ones are more vulnerable to the virus.

Gamboa said a police official with the rank of colonel was rushed to the hospital on Thursday evening due to breathing difficulty. He is still being tested for the new coronavirus.

Banac said at least four policemen assigned to quarantine control points in Metro Manila tested positive for the virus. The policemen are aged 46 to 53 years old.

The PNP has a Biosafety Plan to protect its men from the new coronavirus, including the establishment of decontamination stations to disinfect vehicles and people going in and out of police camps.

Meanwhile, Gamboa said the PNP will remain steadfast and uncompromising despite the challenges they are facing in this time of national health emergency.

He said that “public order and rule of law must reign if we are to defeat this viral pandemic.”

“As a seasoned lawyer, President Duterte knows whereof he speaks. The order to shoot , afterall, is consistent with what is prescribed in our Police Operational Procedures or rules of engagement that authorize use of reasonable force, including firearms, in defense of self and defense of a stranger when faced with imminent danger of unlawful aggression,” said Gamboa.

“But the PNP assures no shooting will happen if everyone will just obey the rules, particularly the guidelines of health authorities on quarantine, social distancing and crowding,” he added.

Gamboa was reacting to President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to shoot dead those who will create public disturbance and instigate riots during the quarantine period.

He has also issued guidance to Lieutenant General Guillermo Eleazar, PNP deputy chief for operations and Joint Task Force CV Shield commander, to muster enough forces from the PNP, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Coast Guard and Bureau of Fire who will assist the government in distributing relief assistance. (SunStar Philippines)