PNP reopening of frontline administrative services moved to June 4

Robie de Guzman   •   June 1, 2020   •   235

The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Monday announced that the resumption of its frontline administrative functions and regulatory services has been moved to June 4, Thursday.

PNP’s frontline administrative services include the processing of license to own and possess firearms, and the issuance of permits and police clearances to the public.

In a statement, the PNP said the postponement is in view of the expected public turnout and the stream of police personnel in Camp Crame as the Metro Manila and other parts of the shift to general community quarantine (GCQ).

“We need to control both foot and vehicular traffic in Camp Crame. While we are ready to attend to the needs of the public, we must also consider the safety of our PNP personnel,” PNP chief General Archie Gamboa said in a statement.

Units under the PNP Civil Security Group that will resume operations and transactions on Thursday are Firearms and Explosives Office (FEO), Supervisory Office for Security and Investigation Agencies (SOSIA), One-Stop-Shop Office (OSS) and Regional Civil Security Units (RCSU).

The PNP also announced the postponement of its recruitment processing “until further notice” due to the strict implementation of quarantine protocols in Metro Manila and other parts of the country.

The recruitment processing was supposed to resume Monday, June 1.

Meanwhile, Gamboa assured that the 205,000-strong police force remains on a high state of readiness as the country transitions to more relaxed form of quarantine measures amid the continuing threat of COVID-19.

“Our police units are under orders to extend maximum assistance to provide safety and security to all workers who will report back to work tomorrow,” he said.

The PNP chief also emphasized that checkpoints, curfew, travel restrictions, strict enforcement of physical distancing, and minimum health standards will still be implemented across the country in accordance with the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) Guidelines on General Community Quarantine.

The PNP likewise reiterated that travelers who will cross other regions or provinces need to secure travel authority from local police stations. They are required to present health certificates from their respective barangays in applying for a travel pass.

Travelers within a province or a region need not secure a travel pass but must ready identification and other necessary documents to be presented when they are flagged down for random checking.

Gamboa also said the PNP will strictly implement the full force of the law against cybercrimes and “any form of abuse on our women and children in this new normal”.

He said the PNP is taking appropriate steps to focus on public safety, law enforcement and internal security functions with greater attention to government flagship campaigns against crime, illegal drugs, and corruption amid the health crisis.

As the country transitions into the ‘new normal’ situation, Gamboa also assured the protection of police front-liners who stay committed to their duties, and punishment for those who abuse their authority. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Lea Ylagan)

Cebu City hospitals in critical level amid surge of COVID-19 cases – DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   July 2, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Some hospitals in Cebu City are already in critical level amid the surge of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in the city, the Department of Health (DOH) said Thursday.

In a televised press briefing, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said Cebu City’s overall health capacity has reached a critical point as many hospitals in the city are already swamped with patients.

“They’ve reached about 80 percent and even more—80 percent last week, pero napababa nila iyon nung nag meeting kami nung Sunday. Parang bumaba ng konti, although nasa critical level pa rin,” Vergeire said.

“So, ngayon pag nakakita tayo ng ganito, binabantayan kaya nga ang decision sa kanila they continue on with enhanced community quarantine,” she added.

The DOH official also noted there are only a few tertiary level hospitals in Cebu City and many are level one facilities that do not have intensive care units.

“’Yung iba pang malalaking ospital sa Cebu ay nandun na sa critical. Marami nang naka-admit, pati mechanical ventilators nila marami na ring gumagamit,” she said.

She cited Chong Hua Hospital, as an example, which is already occupied by 98 percent.

She said that aside from taking care of over 200 COVID-19 patients, at least 238 of its health workers are also currently under quarantine.

Due to this, Vergeire said the DOH is facilitating the augmentation and deployment of additional health workers, including infectious disease consultants, nurses, and military doctors, to Cebu Province to help attend to the burgeoning number of virus-infected patients. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

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Duterte to meet with AFP, PNP commanders following Jolo incident

Robie de Guzman   •   July 2, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte is set to fly to Mindanao to meet with top officials of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in the wake of the killing of four soldiers by policemen in Jolo, Sulu last Monday, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said Thursday.

Año, however, did not disclose the date and place of the president’s upcoming meeting with police and military commanders.

The Interior Secretary, who supervises the PNP, also said that Duterte may possibly talk to nine policemen involved in the shooting of soldiers.

“The president is going to the south to talk to our PNP and AFP commanders, sabi ko nga kung may time pa siya ay kakausapin niya yung mga suspek,” Año said.

Malacañang said the president was saddened by the incident between the police and military officers.

He has also ordered for the National Bureau of Investigation to expedite the release of its probe findings.

The Palace also denied that the incident is the result of the alleged state-sponsored extrajudicial killings under the Duterte administration as claimed by former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV.

“Hindi po natin kinukunsinte ang patayan kaya nga po masinsinang imbestigasyon ang ginagawa natin dito sa pagpatay sa 4 na sundalo sa hukbong sandatahan,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said.

Año echoed Roque’s statement as he assured that those responsible for the Jolo incident will be held accountable.

“Extrajudicial killing is not the policy of this government and the Sulu incident, we will exact justice and make sure those responsible shall be accountable, umasa kayo diyan. Ako mismo ang personal na nag-follow up ng kaso,” he said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Antipolo City market on lockdown as 18 tenants, vendors contract COVID-19

Marje Pelayo   •   July 2, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Antipolo City government has ordered the lockdown of the city’s public market after 18 of its tenants and vendors tested positive for coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The lockdown, which started on Tuesday (June 30), would be in effect for two weeks, according to Antipolo Mayor Andrea Ynares.

The patients are now in isolation for mandatory quarantine while disinfection procedures are currently being undertaken within the market’s premises. 

Meanwhile, the local government unit has started distributing relief goods to other tenants and vendors affected by the closure. 

“Ang amin pong paulit-ulit na panawagan sa atin pong mga kababayan ay sana po sumunod tayo sa mga umiiral na batas ngayon, mga alituntunin,” appealed Relly Bernardo Jr. of the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO).

[We constantly appeal to our constituents to follow health regulations, follow the law.]

“Siguraduhin po na nakakasunod po tayo sa mga protocols gaya ng pagsusuot ng mask, regular hand sanitation, at physical distancing,” he added.

[Always make sure that we are following protocols like wearing of masks, regular hand sanitation, and physical distancing.]

Likewise, the LGU is asking for help from the private markets in the city to conduct COVID-19 tests among their tenants.

The LGU added that private market owners can request from the city hall should they lack funds. —MNP (with details from JP Nunez)

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