PNP to send 100 cops to augment Cebu City ECQ
Photo release shows the PNP augmentation contingent of 100 policemen from Police Regional Offices in Western Visayas and Eastern Visayas ready to board ship at Ormoc City Seaport to assist operations under Cebu City's enhanced community quarantine.
Release/Philippine National Police

PNP to send 100 cops to augment Cebu City ECQ

Franco Luna (Philstar.com) - June 18, 2020 - 12:28pm

MANILA, Philippines (Update 1, 2:44 p.m.) — The Philippine National Police is fielding a police augmentation force of 100 cops to Central Visayas to support the enforcement of the recently-declared enhanced community quarantine in Metro Cebu.

In a statement, the PNP's public information office said the force was recommended by Police Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, commander of the Joint Task Force Covid-19, after a spike in coronavirus cases was recorded by health authorities.

The contingent, composed of cops from Police Regional Offices in Western Visayas and Eastern Visayas, will split into two regional augmentation contingents of 50 personnel each for deployment to Cebu City. Members of the contingent also underwent required health checks under the PNP's Regional Health Services before their departure. 

On Wednesday, the Department of Interior and Local Government said the city was first in terms of active cases, which prompted the decision on the part of the government. According to Interior Secretary Eduard Año, 11 of the top 15 barangays in COVID-19 cases were in Metro Cebu. 

In a separate statement issued Thursday afternoon, Eleazar likened police patrolers manning quarantine checkpoints to frontliners in the fight against the new pathogen.

According to Eleazar, ranking police leaders from the region shared best practices in enforcing quarantine rules in a video conference before the order to deploy the augmentation force was formally issued. 

“The key to defeating the spread of the virus is cooperation. We need to have a unified front to effectively enforce the quarantine rules. As among the frontliners, the police should really work together in coordination with other frontliners and the people that we protect,” he said.

“All of these police reinforcements will be assigned at the frontline—supervising and manning the checkpoints, and the conduct of regular patrol to enforce the minimum health safety protocols of wearing face masks and observance of physical distancing,” he added. 

Critics have noted the Duterte's administration has leaned heavily on military and police presence, while government agencies continue to call for the public's discipline and cooperation in flattening the coronavirus curve despite lapses in medical solutions and mass transportation. 

Metro Manila's own enhanced community quarantine saw various cases of galvanic police enforcement that cast doubt on whether or not the force actually followed its own rules.

As of this writing, the national police has confirmed 440 cases of the new pathogen among its ranks, leading to seven deaths. 

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