AFP, PNP suspends ops vs CPP-NPA as Pres. Duterte declares ceasefire

Maris Federez   •   December 23, 2019   •   708

MANILA, Philippines — The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) have suspended their offensive operations against the Communist Party of the Philippines-New Peoples Army (CPP-NPA).

This, after President Rodrigo Roa Duterte signed the ceasefire agreement between the national government and the communist group for the holiday season.

Read: PH gov’t, Reds declare holiday truce; eye resumption of peace talks

Department of National Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana said the military will immediately implement the Suspension of Military Operations (SOMO) in accordance with the order of the commander-in-chief despite the red alert status that the AFP has raised in line with the communist group’s celebration of its 51st anniversary on December 26.

Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Sec. Eduardo M. Año, on the part of the police, said: “it is the prerogative of the President, as commander-in-chief, to declare a unilateral ceasefire for the Christmas season and we abide by his decision.”

Año has also directed the Philippine National Police (PNP) to comply and to issue appropriate orders to all units in the field.

“While we remain vigilant and take a strong defensive stance, this will also give an opportunity for our policemen and soldiers in the field to spend a meaningful celebration of Christmas with their families,” the DILG chief said.

On Sunday (Dec. 22) PNP officer-in-charge PLtGen. Archie Francisco Gamboa issued a memorandum on the agency’s implementation of Suspension of Police Operations (SOPO) amid their full alert status.

PNP Spokesman Police B/Gen. Bernard Banac said that with this directive, the PNP will not conduct offensive activities from December 23 to January 7.

Año hopes that the rebel group will make use of the ceasefire as an opportunity “for them to surrender, avail of the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Community Integration Program (ECLIP), rejoin mainstream society, and start a new life together with their families”. — (with details from Lea Ylagan) /mbmf

Duterte names PH Army commanding general Gapay as next AFP chief

Robie de Guzman   •   July 29, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has designated Lieutenant General Gilbert Gapay as the next chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

According to a document addressed to Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Duterte signed Gapay’s appointment letter on Tuesday, July 28.

Gapay is the current commanding general of the Philippine Army.

His designation will take effect on August 3.

Gapay will replace AFP chief General Felimon Santos Jr. who is leaving the service as he reaches the mandatory retirement age of 56 on August 4.

Cops are security escorts in house-to-house COVID-19 visits — PNP

Marje Pelayo   •   July 16, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police (PNP) clarified rumors on the planned house-to-house visits to locate individuals positive for coronavirus disease (COVID-19). 

According to PNP Spokesperson PBGen. Bernard Banac, the police will only act as security escorts to local health authorities who will spearhead the process. 

“Mangunguna pa rin talaga ang mga local health workers natin, at ang pagbabasehan niyan ay iyong mga listahan nila ng mga positive cases (The local health workers will lead [the initiative], and will base their visits on the list of positive cases),” Banac said. 

“Sila talaga ang nakakaalam niyan (They are the ones who are familiar with the list),” he added.

But still, the official said they will conduct a thorough search of all persons who had direct contact with someone who has COVID-19 to prevent further spread of the disease. 

This perhaps, Banac said, was what critics misunderstood from the statement of PNP Chief PGen. Archie Gamboa who likened contract tracing to tracking fugitives.

“Ang pinatutungkulan ni PNP Chief PGen. Archie Gamboa ay iyong pamamaraan ng contact tracing kung saan ito ay pinangunahan ni Mayor Benjie Magalong ‘yung sistema ng paghahanap ng mga possible na mga exposure sa COVID-19, [PNP Chief Archie Gamboa was referring to the manner of contact tracing that will be led by Mayor Benjie Magalong. He was referring to the system of searching those with possible exposure to COVID-19,]” Banac explained.  

“Hindi ito iyong tungkol doon sa pagsundo ng mga positive cases na, [It was not about fetching the positive cases,]” he added.

Banac assured that the public has nothing to worry about the house visits for COVID-19 patients. 

Even Joint Task Force COVID Shield Commander PLTGENPLTGEN. Guillermo Eleazar stressed that police personnel will only serve as security escorts in the planned house to house visits. 

“Ang role ng ating PNP ay para tumulong sa ating LGU through their health officers or workers kasi sila ang nakakaalam kung sino ang mga pasyente na positive na para dalhin sa mga isolation facilities (The role of our policemen is to help our LGUs specifically the health workers as they are the ones who know the positive cases so they could be sent to isolation facilities),” Eleazar concluded. MNP (with details from Lea Ylagan)

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PNP to conduct tracing of individuals who had direct contact with COVID-19 patients

Maris Federez   •   July 16, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police (PNP) has belied reports that they will be searching for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) positive patients as if they are running after fugitives.

In a phone interview, PNP spokesperson PBGen. Bernard Banac clarified that they are not the ones heading the house-to-house search for individuals infected with the virus but the barangay or city health workers.

Banac added that their role in the contact tracing is to provide escort to the infected individuals who will be advised to go to COVID-19 facilities.

“Mangunguna pa rin talaga ang mga local health workers natin at ang pagbabasehan n’yan ay of course ‘yung mga listahan nila ng mga positive cases, so sila talaga ang nakakaalam n’yan,” Banac said.

Banac, however, added that they will be conducting a thorough search of individuals who had direct contact with those who have tested positive for COVID-19 to prevent the further spread of the deadly virus.

“Ang pinatutungkulan ni PNP Chief PGen. Archie Gamboa ay yung pamamaraan ng contact tracing kung saan ito ay pinangunahan ni Mayor Benjie Magalong. ‘Yung sistema ng paghahanap ng mga possible na mga exposure sa Covid-19, hindi ito ‘yung tungkol doon sa pagsundo ng mga positive cases na,” he said.

Joint Task Force Coronavirus (JTF CV) Shield Commander PLtGen. Guillermo Eleazar also reiterated that the role of the police is just to provide escort to the barangay or city health workers in locating and picking up those who are positive for COVID-19.

“Ang role ng ating PNP ay para tumulong sa ating LGU through their health officers or workers kasi sila ang nakakaalam kung sino ‘yung mga pasyente na positive na para dalhin sa mga isolation facilities,” Eleazar said. — (with inputs from Lea Ylagan) /mbmf

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