After COVID-19 cases top 5,600, PNP to prioritize officers' health assigned to quarantine facilities
In this April 15, 2020, photo, PNP officials check out the quarantine facilities at the Philippine International Convention Center in a photo posted on Facebook by the Department of Public Works and Highways.

After COVID-19 cases top 5,600, PNP to prioritize officers' health assigned to quarantine facilities

(Philstar.com) - September 25, 2020 - 2:54pm

MANILA, Philippines — Two major COVID-19 task forces led by the national police will work together to better safeguard cops assigned to mega quarantine facilities, the agency said Friday. 

This was confirmed by Police Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, commander of the Joint Task Force Shield, in a statement released to reporters, after cases among police breached 5,600 as of the night before. 

According to Eleazar, "their first course of action with the PNP’s Administrative Support for COVID-19 Task Force (ACOTF) [is] to inspect all the quarantine and swabbing facilities being managed and supervised by the PNP." ASCOTF is led by Police Lt. Gen. Cesar Hawthorne Binag. 

The facilities inspected were Philsports Arena in Pasig City, the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) and the Mall of Asia Mega Quarantine Facility, both located in Pasay City. 

"The guidelines given by the Chief PNP, Police General Camilo Pancratius Cascolan is for the two task forces, the JTF COVID Shield and the ASCOTF, to coordinate closely so as to ensure that the mandate will be pursued and followed,” Eleazar said. 

According to the agency, this new initiative forms part of "buddy system" which was initiated by Gen. Camilo Cascolan, the country's top cop, " in order for top officials of the PNP to work together in improving the services to the people." 

"In the case of the response on COVID-19, the ‘buddy system’ was between PLt. Gen. Eleazar and PLt. Gen. Binag who are both members of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class 1987," PNP's statement further read. 

According to Eleazar, this new effort will "maximize the implementation of the government’s action plans not only to prevent the spread of the coronavirus but also in looking over the welfare of those who take care of the infected Filipinos." 

Latest data from the Department of Health shows that 296,755 Filipinos have been sickened by the coronavirus while deaths are at 5,127. 

It has been 192 days since the Philippines was first put under lockdown, one of the longest quarantine periods in the world.

Despite this, a report by leading international medical journal the Lancet, ranked the Philippines 66th out of 91 countries in its ability to suppress the pandemic, citing President Rodrigo Duterte's leadership style as one of the main factors hampering the country's efforts. 

PNP logs 119 new infections among its ranks

The national police on Thursday night logged 119 new cases of COVID-19, the highest proportion of which were recorded among personnel in the the National Administrative Support Unit. 

Metro Manila cops accounted for 23 of the new cases, closely trailed by officers in the National Headquearters with 22. 

This brings COVID-19 infections at the PNP to 5,650. Meanwhile, recoveries are at 4,407 while active cases are placed at 1,226. 

Deaths among cops due to the coronavirus are at 17. 

The rest of the new cases reported Thursday came from the following offices: 

  • PRO- 13 (Caraga): 10
  • National Operational Support Unit (NOSU): 8
  • PRO 4-A (Calabarzon): 5
  • PRO 4-B (Mimaropa): 2
  • PROCOR (Cordillera): 2
  • PRO 5 (Bicol): 2
  • PRO 9 (Zamboanga Peninsula): 2
  • PRO 3 (Central Luzon): 1
  • PRO 6: (Western Visays): 1
  • PRO 7 (Central Visayas): 1

— Bella Perez-Rubio

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