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Cops on full alert vs COVID

PNP sealBy MARTIN SADONGDONG

The Philippine National Police yesterday placed the National Capital Region Police Office, Police Regional Office 3 (Central Luzon), PRO 4-A (Calabarzon), PRO 4-B (Mimaropa), and PRO 5 (Bicol) on full alert status as a proactive measure to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus disease-2019.

Police Major Gen. Emmanuel Luis Licup, head of the Directorate for Operations, issued a memorandum declaring the highest alert status in the five areas. It took effect at 1 a.m. and will only be lifted on the discretion of the PNP.

Under a full alert status, all dayoffs and vacation leaves are cancelled to ensure the availability of policemen to respond to any situation.

“Likewise, other PROs shall have the discretion to raise their alert level depending on the prevailing situation in respective areas of responsibility,” Licup said.

Police were placed on full status after President Duterte declared in a public address last Thursday that the COVID-19 alert system has been raised to Code Red Sublevel 2, which means that there is a “sustained community transmission” of the deadly respiratory disease “beyond capacity.”

Duterte also said in the same public address that Metro Manila will be placed on a community quarantine or lockdown to slow down the spread of the COVID-19. Land, domestic air, and domestic sea travel to and from Metro Manila were suspended from March 15 to April 14.

Gen. Felimon Santos Jr., chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, said the military is ready to assist the PNP in implementing the community quarantine measures.

He noted that different military units had earlier been directed to prepare their contingency measures to make the enforcement of a lockdown in Metro Manila possible “without compromising our peace and security operations.”

“This includes the availability of units and personnel, emergency medical teams, availability of critical logistics and supplies, and preparation of personal protective equipment for soldiers and other personnel who will be tapped to assist the PNP,” Santos said.

The PNP and military are expected to setup checkpoints in the borders of Metro Manila cities and nearby provinces to restrict the movements of the people in and out of NCR.

However, Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año had said that workers who are living in nearby provinces but have work in NCR and vice versa will be allowed entry and exit as long as a work ID is presented to law enforcers.

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