MANILA, Philippines – Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Police General Guillermo Eleazar on Tuesday said he has directed the Caloocan City police to help in the contact tracing efforts following a hostage incident that turned into a potential super spreader event.
“Makikipagtulungan ang local police sa Caloocan City government, partikular ang Barangay 14, para hagilapin ang mga nagsiksikan at nakiusyoso sa hostage-taking na naganap nitong nakalipas na Sabado,” Eleazar said in a statement.
Last Saturday, police arrested a man identified as Anthony Soriano after he held a boy at knifepoint along C-3 Road in Barangay 14.
The hostage taking incident turned into a potential COVID-19 super spreader event as onlookers flocked to the scene.
Eleazar also said he has issued a memorandum to remind all PNP personnel to observe the existing protocol in handling hostage dramas and other similar incidents, especially on crowd control.
“Likas sa tao ang pagiging usisero lalo na sa panahon ngayon na halos lahat ay gustong makibahagi sa mga ganitong pangyayari gamit ang smart phones at social media kaya nararapat lamang na maging alerto ang ating kapulisan tungkol dito lalo na may kinakaharap tayong pandemya,” he said.
Malaking tulong ang kooperasyon ng mamayan sa mga ganitong sitwasyon,” he added.
He stressed that under the police operational procedure during hostage situations, there is a need to secure and isolate the incident scene and prohibit unauthorized persons as their presence could further agitate the hostage-taker.
This also aims at preventing hostage-taking incidents from escalating or going out of control.
“Ganunpaman, pinapapurihan ko ang ating mga pulis sa maayos na pagresolba ng insidenteng ito,” said Eleazar.
The 15-year old hostage was rescued by local authorities while the hostage-taker was subdued and is facing a string of criminal charges.