PNP SAF Commandos deployed in NCR markets to strictly enforce ECQ protocols
Robie de Guzman • April 21, 2020 • 625
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Tuesday said that members of its elite Special Action Force (SAF) have been deployed in the National Capital Region (NCR) to assist in the enforcement of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) against COVID-19.
On Tuesday morning, Lieutenant General Guillermo Eleazar, who heads the Joint Task Force (JTF) COVID Shield, met with the SAF teams for their deployment to help in the strict implementation of ECQ protocols and regulations.
Eleazar said 116 SAF commandos will be deployed to ten major public markets in Metro Manila. These are Libertad Public Market in Pasay, Pasig Palengke, Marikina Public Market and Blumentritt Public Market, Napindan Taguig Public Market, Lower Bicutan in Taguig Public Market, Las Piñas City Public Market, as well as public markets in North Caloocan, Alabang and Bagong Parañaque.
SAF troopers are tasked to augment local police units in managing and monitoring assigned areas. They are also mandated to arrest individuals who will disobey physical distancing, and other ECQ guidelines.
Apprehended persons will be held in a police station.
“Pero kung sakali with your presence ay magpapatuloy pa rin sila sa paglabag sa mga alituntunin ng ating enchanced community quarantine, hulihin ninyo. Andyan kasama ang mga taga Station 3 natin para sila ay ating bigyan ng leksyon,” Eleazar said.
“Inaasahan natin na ang mga matitigas ang ulo nating mga kababayan sa presence pa lang ng ating mga SAF troopers ay susunod na subalit kung hindi sila susunod ay ipaiiral natin ang ating batas pantay-pantay ang pagpapatupad ng ECQ,” he added.
SAF Commandoes may be reassigned to other areas depending on the recommendation of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO).
Eleazar said the deployment of SAF troopers is based on the directive of President Rodrigo Duterte to intensify the enforcement of quarantine guidelines following reports of increasing number of violations.
He also assured the public that the additional deployment of troops is not yet part of a ‘martial law-like’ quarantine as earlier threatened by the president.
“Hindi ito martial law or ala martial law, dagdag lang na tropa but ang tinitignan natin lahat ng mga karapatan lahat ng protocols walang pagbabago nagdagdag lang tayo ng mga tropa,” he said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Dante Amento)
The Philippine National Police (PNP) assured to conduct strict monitoring of cemeteries across the country amid closure from October 29 to November 4.
Commander of the Joint Task Force COVID Shield Police Lt. Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar said they will deploy security at all entrances of the cemeteries and similar places. They will also conduct regular patrol of the vicinity.
“The real intention here is to discourage the influx of large number of people during Undas as part of the measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus,” he said.
Police Assistance Desk will be set up outside cemeteries to ensure that people will not be allowed even if they insist on entering the premises. A total of 2,967 Police Assistance Desks have been set up.
As of October 29, a total of 15,629 policemen were tasked to secure various cemeteries, columbaria and memorial parks while 4,958 more policemen were deployed as road safety marshals.
“Their task is to ensure that no person would be allowed to enter the cemeteries, memorial parks and columbaria from October 29 to November 4 and to ensure that peace and order and observation of minimum health safety standard protocols when these areas reopen on November 5,” Eleazar said.
The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) had previously ordered local government units (LGU) to close all private and public cemeteries, memorial parks, and columbaria, as ordered by President Rodrigo Duterte.
“We are asking for the people’s cooperation by not going to the cemeteries, staying at home on October 29 to November 4, 2020 and visiting their departed relatives days before or weeks after the closure,” according to DILG Secretary Eduardo Año. AAC (with reports from Lea Ylagan)
The Vietnamese government has turned over US$50,000-worth of COVID-19 RT-PCR test kits with accompanying extraction kits to the Department of Health (DOH).
The test kits were delivered to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM). Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr., and Health Undersecretary Carolina Taino ceremonially received the donation from Vietnamese Ambassador Hoang Huy Chung.
“Describing the donation as a manifestation of the enduring close friendship between the Philippines and Vietnam, Ambassador Chung assured Secretary Locsin of the Vietnamese government’s support for the Philippines’ ongoing efforts in fighting COVID-19, as well as in promoting and protecting the welfare of the Filipino people,” the DFA said in a statement.
The donation comes ahead of the 5th anniversary of the establishment of the Philippines-Vietnam Strategic Partnership on November 17. AAC
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