Metro Manila top cop apologizes over birthday get-together during ECQ

Robie de Guzman   •   May 13, 2020   •   221

Police officers paid tribute to Major General Debold Sinas (right) by surprising him with a mañanita on his birthday.

MANILA, Philippines – National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief Major General Debold Sinas on Wednesday apologized for his birthday celebration, which drew flak for supposedly violating protocols on physical distancing and the ban on mass gathering amid the enhanced community quarantine due to novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

In a statement, Sinas said he did not intend to disobey protocols related to the implementation of the ECQ to contain the spread of COVID-19.

“I apologize for what transpired during my birthday that caused anxiety to the public,” he said.

He also said that some of the photos circulating online were “edited and grabbed from old posts.”

“The pictures may depict itself however it does not define the totality of what really had happened,” he said.

The photos showed Sinas handing cakes and roses during an event. A photo also showed Sinas sitting at a table with guests.

The photos were said to be taken during a party held for Sinas to celebrate his birthday. Police officers gave him a mañanita, a traditional early morning serenade, where they dine together.

The said event was met with criticism for allegedly breaking quarantine rules.

“May 8 is the day when God aggrandize his love for me and my family for it is the day when I was born. That day, I was blessed and honored that another year has been added to my life,” Sinas said.

He added that he was “overjoyed as a birthday celebrant,” and “caught up” with the mañanita held by some of his officers.

He said he accommodated his guests with “all cautiousness” as he was aware of the measures being implemented against COVID-19.

“They were told to observe social distancing and other precautionary health measures. They were also told not to linger and prepare for the simultaneous relief distribution NCR-wide that day,” he said.

Philippine National Police chief General Archie Gamboa said he already ordered a probe into the incident.

Interior Secretary Eduardo Año also said that Sinas, as a police official, should serve as an example in following protocols especially those related to the containment of COVID-19.

Metro Manila to likely transition to GCQ after May 31 —Palace

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 28, 2020

Metro Manila has a possibility to transition to General Community Quarantine (GCQ) from Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) after May 31, according to the Malacañang.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said there is a chance that the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions might ease in Metro Manila and other parts of the country.

The Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) held a meeting on Wednesday (May 27) to determine if the MECQ should continue after May 31.

“Chances are we will, in fact, be transitioning to GCQ in Metro Manila, according to the chief implementer and the DILG [Department of the Interior and Local Government] Secretary,” Roque said in a statement.

The Metro Manila Council (MMC) is also recommending to the IATF to put the National Capital Region under GCQ.

Once Metro Manila transitioned to GCQ, Roque said public transportation will resume operations but will have limited capacity.

He also appealed to the private and public sectors to finalize their work scheme where 50% will resume in worksites and 50% will work from home.

“We are appealing to both private and public sectors to ensure at least 50-50 workforce,” he said. –AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

ECQ areas might downgrade to GCQ by June —DILG

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 26, 2020

Areas under Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) might be put under General Community Quarantine by June, according to the Deparment of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

In a virtual press briefing on Tuesday (May 26), DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said they are looking into implementin lockdowns in specific areas with high coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases.

“Kahit iyan ay naka-GCQ, pwede pa rin mag-declare ang mga local chief executive ng critical areas. Ito iyong mga lugar na mayroong 20 or plus na cases, (Even if [the area] is under GCQ, local chief executives can still declare critical areas. These are areas with 20 or plus cases)” he said.

There will also be lesser number of checkpoints by June, the DILG secretary added. From checkpoints situated in every boundaries of cities, it will be limited to specific areas.

“Mayroon tayong tinatawag na modified checkpoints para hindi na masyadong magbuhol-buhol ang trapiko, (We have something that we call modified checkpoints to ease the traffic)” Año said. AAC (with reports from Joan Nano)

NCRPO seizes shabu worth P81.6-M in Taguig City

Maris Federez   •   May 24, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) has recorded one of the biggest amounts of methamphetamine hydrochloride, commonly known as “shabu”, confiscated by local police during an anti-illegal drug operation on Friday night, May 22, along C6 Road in Lower Bicutan, Taguig City.

The combined anti-illegal drug efforts of the Regional Intelligence Division/Regional Special Operations Unit- NCRPO, Regional Drug Enforcement Agency, District Intelligence Division- Southern Police District and Taguig City Police Station together with Philippine National Police- Drug Enforcement Group Special Operations Unit 4, all under the leadership of PMGen. Debold Sinas resulted in an armed encounter against the two (2) armed suspects.

The NCRPO chief identified the suspects as Ryan Labandaria and Ervyn Querubin.

The arrest was made through a buy-bust operation wherein a police operative acted as a poseur buyer.

The suspects, however, noticed that they were dealing with the police and a scuffle ensued. The suspects then fled the scene on board a black Nissan Navarra with the police on their tail.

The police said the suspects were subsequently apprehended and the operatives yielded twelve (12) large packs of dangerous drugs wrapped in Chinese Tea Bag packaging with an estimated weight of more or less 12 Kilograms of suspected shabu, and with an estimated DDB Value of Php 81.6-million.

Aside from the drugs, the police were also able to confiscate the following:

  • one .45 caliber pistol with one magazine loaded with six (6) live ammunitions;
  • one KG9 sub machine gun with one live ammunition for chamber load inserted with banana type magazine loaded with nine (9) live ammunitions; and,
  • one extra banana type magazine loaded with nine (9) live ammunitions

Police said an ambulance was called to bring the wounded suspects to hospital for medical treatment.

All evidence had also been brought to the RSOG-NCRPO for safekeeping, while the illegal drugs will be submitted to the Crime lab for examination.

Sinas, meanwhile, commended the operating teams for what the chief called a remarkable accomplishment of Team NCRPO’s war against illegal drugs.

“This accomplishment is reflective of Team NCRPO’s dedication and unwavering support of the marching order of the President and the Chief, PNP to cleanse the Metro from proliferation of illegal drugs,” Sinas said.

“With the largest amount of shabu busted by Team NCRPO so far this year, we have also minimized its possibility of destroying the lives and future of our fellowmen,” he added. — /mbmf

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