PNP chief Gamboa returns to work after chopper crash

Robie de Guzman   •   March 9, 2020   •   460

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Police General Archie Gamboa

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Police General Archie Gamboa reported for work on Monday after surviving a helicopter crash in San Pedro, Laguna last week that left him and seven others injured.

With his right arm still in a sling, Gamboa attended the flag-raising ceremony where he addressed police officers, and assured them he is fine and recovering well from the minor injuries he sustained.

He also expressed gratitude for their messages of support and prayers for their speedy recovery.

As he faced reporters during the regular press briefing at Camp Crame in Quezon City, the PNP chief declined to recount the things that happened before the 2-year old Bell 429 chopper crashed, but he confirmed he transferred seats as advised by the pilot.

Prior to take-off, Gamboa said he was asked to sit to the right part of the chopper instead of his prepared seat to the left of Major General Mariel Magaway, PNP Director for Intelligence.

“When the chief PNP rides the chopper he has the prepared seat pero alam niyo kung ano lang ang dahilan? Ayaw nya doon sa mainit na side, yun lang yun… that’s why whenever I ride the chopper, tatanungin ko na, ‘Saan ako?’ Sabihin niya, ‘Dito ka, dito ka’… but primarily ang consideration doon is, yun nga, kung saan hindi mainit, especially on long flights,” he said.

Aside from Gamboa and Magaway, PNP Spokesperson Brigadier General Bernard Banac, Gamboa’s aide de camp Captain Keventh Gayramara, PNP Director for Comptrollership Major General Jose Ma. Victor Ramos, two pilots and a technician were also aboard the helicopter when the crash occurred on the morning of Thursday, March 5.

Banac and four others suffered minor injuries, while Magaway, as well as Ramos, remain in critical condition due to the serious injuries they sustained from the crash.

According to Gamboa, the two generals are still being closely monitored at Asian Hospital in Muntinlupa City but he received information that their conditions were improving.

“Generally, okay naman sila, but of course they remain in the intensive care unit. At alam naman natin, pag andoon ka sa ICU, they are on a close monitoring,” he said.

Banac, meanwhile, recounted some details and his experience prior to the crash, saying they had zero visibility as thick dusts enveloped the chopper when it began to hover.

“Dahil wala namang visibility, walang reference point. From there, nakaramdam na ko ng something is not right, parang nag-banking siya. So, from there nag-brace position na ako, prepare for crash landing”

Banac sustained scratches to his right arm, left eye and forehead, and complained of back pains due to the compression of his spinal column. He was discharged from the hospital on Saturday afternoon

The investigation into the crash, headed by Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, is underway.

Eleazar earlier said they are looking into three possible angles in the chopper crash – pilot error, airworthiness of the chopper and standard operating procedures in the landing and lift-off site preparation of the aircraft.

However, Gamboa said he personally rules out sabotage and threat to his life as the probable cause for the crash.

“Ako, personally convinced ako, nandoon ako sa loob ng helicopter, nobody in his right mind, even in what kind of interest he has in his mind would do that,” he said.

The PNP chief has instructed the special investigation task force to get all statements of the people involved in the crash as well as witnesses and members of the Calabarzon Police and Highway Patrol Group.

He also said he will not provide a timeline for the probe, adding that multiple agencies were tapped for the investigation.

“I do not want to rush things because… ito probably yung pinaka-grabe kaya ayoko sila bigyan deadline. As a matter of fact, it will involve a lot of government agencies, we tapped Philippine Airforce, the Civil Aeronautics Authority of the Philippines, yung CAAP, probably BELL also,” he said.

The PNP’s entire fleet of rotary-wing aircraft has been temporarily grounded pending the result of the investigation. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Lea Ylagan)

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Operasyon ng PNP COVID-19 testing facility, simula na ngayong linggo

Robie de Guzman   •   May 25, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Magsisimula na ngayong linggo ang operasyon ng sariling testing facility para sa novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) ng Philippine National Police (PNP).

Ayon kay PNP Spokesperson Police Brigadier General Bernard Banac, binigyan na ito ng license to operate ng Department of Health (DOH) noon pang May 22.

Una nang sinabi ng PNP na ang Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) facility nito ay sinertipikahan ng Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) ng DOH bilang isang independent testing center.

Pansamantala itong ipu-puwesto sa PNP Crime Laboratory sa Camp Crame habang hindi pa tapos ang 84-square meter na pasilidad sa likod ng PNP Health Service.

Ayon kay Banac, prayoridad sa testing ang pulis na dumu-duty sa quarantine checkpoints at nagpapatupad ng seguridad sa Metro Manila.

Sa huling tala ng PNP Health Service, umabot na sa 263 ang bilang ng mga pulis na nag-positibo sa coronavirus disease.

Nasa 777 probable at 575 suspect cases naman ang binabantayan sa ngayon. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Lea Ylagan)

PNP implements ‘modified checkpoints’ in EDSA to ease traffic

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 20, 2020

The Philippine National Police-Highway Patrol Group (PNP-HPG) has implemented ‘modified checkpoints’ along EDSA to ease traffic amid the Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ).

According to HPG-National Capital Region (NCR) Chief PCol. Wilson Doromal, they had to remove the checkpoints along EDSA to make way for the Authorized Person Outside Residence (APOR) that will flock reopened establishments.

“Baka kami ang maging cause ng traffic kung maglalagay tayo ng checkpoint dito along EDSA (We might become the cause of traffic if we installed checkpoints along EDSA),” he said.

He also said that the PNP-HPG has mobile checkpoints or 40 motorcycle drivers that are randomly deployed to monitor motorists. This is part of their ‘Oplan Habol’ to check if motorists follow quarantine protocols.

“Oplan Habol, ibig sabihin pag nai-spottan natin ang sasakyan, halimbawa iyong sasakyan overloading, hahabulin ng mga motorcycle iyan sa EDSA (Oplan Habol, meaning once authorities spotted an overloading vehicle, the motorcycles would run after them along EDSA),” Doromal said.

Violators will be issued with a temporary operator’s permit and will have their license confiscated.

Meanwhile, authorities in EDSA checkpoints will be moved to streets around Metro Manila including Commonwealth, Katipunan, Quezon Avenue, C-5 Quirino, Marcos Highway, and Roxas Boulevard,

The said authorities would man the checkpoints for 2 to 4 hours before moving to another location. –AAC (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

PNP to require medical certificate from personnel, civilians prior to entering Camp Crame

Robie de Guzman   •   May 19, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Tuesday said it has stepped up the implementation of health and safety protocols in its headquarters in Camp Crame amid the continuing threat of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

In a Memorandum Order dated May 14, the PNP Headquarters Support Service (HSS) said that starting May 18, stricter measures will be implemented in all pedestrian and sentry gates in Camp Crame to prevent the spread of the dreaded disease.

The PNP HSS said that each personnel are given a QR Code, which identifies whether an individual has tested positive or negative for COVID-19 after undergoing a rapid test.

If a personnel does not have a QR code, a medical certificate or fit to work clearance issued by the Health Service may be presented prior to entering the PNP headquarters.

Meanwhile, civilians will be required to present a medical certificate which states that they are free from coronavirus infection.

In a separate directive issued by the PNP HSS on May 18, those who are not yet tested for COVID-19 will be required to present government-issued ID, quarantine pass and authorizes person outside residence (APOR) ID.

Without a medical certificate, civilians will be advised to proceed to the holding area and accomplish forms for health assessment and possible contact tracing.

PNP spokesperson Brigadier General Bernard Banac said these protocols are part of the biosafety measures being implemented under the modified enhanced community quarantine.

“Upang mapadali natin ang contact tracing pagkatapos ng kanilang pagpasok sa Kampo Crame at ito ay may form na yan ay ibibigay nila din sa mga tauhan natin sa gate,” Banac said.

Its implementation follows the imposition of a three-day lockdown on Camp Caringal, the headquarters of Quezon City Police District, and Eastern Police District headquarters last week after 37 of its personnel were infected with COVID-19.

Camp Crame was not among those placed on lockdown but it imposed more stringent measures to prevent the spread of the virus within its premises.

Banac, however, clarified that the ramped up implementation of health protocols is only applicable to those who are working inside the camp.

He also stressed that the camp remains closed to visitors.

“Ito po ay para lamang sa mga ng nagta-trabaho sa loob ng Kampo Crame at hindi po para sa general public,” he said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Lea Ylagan)

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