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8,000 cops on standby for coronavirus response



The Philippine National Police has placed at least 8,000 policemen on standby for any eventuality in the government’s response to the novel coronavirus disease-2019.

Police Lt. Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar, PNP deputy chief for operations, said the police’s standby force will be tapped mostly for the implementation of the strict guidelines on home quarantine amid the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the country.

“We have plans, that is why we have placed on standby at least 8,000 that we could immediately mobilize. We will use them once additional forces are needed on the ground,” said Eleazar.

Eleazar, who also head the Joint Task Force JTF Corona Virus Shield, has been inspecting various quarantine control points to boost the morale of the policemen on the ground who were tapped to implement the home quarantine rules.

JTF CV Shield, composed of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Bureau of Fire Protection, and the Philippine Coast Guard, is the implementing arm of the Inter-Agency Task Force in the enforcement of the enhanced community quarantine.

Eleazar said PNP chief Police Gen. Archie Gamboa has yet to fully recover from the injuries he suffered in a helicopter crash in Laguna recently but is busy giving out directives to various police units across the country on the implementation of the quarantine rules, specifically on the aspect pertaining to the safety of the policemen on the ground.

“The first order of our chief PNP is the protection of our personnel on the frontline. He said that policemen should be fully protected because if our personnel on the ground are infected, this will be big problem,” said Eleazar.

Police Lt. Gen. Camilo Cascolan, PNP deputy chief for administration, is in charge of regularly meeting with members of the PNP Directorial Staff to determine and address the basic needs of the policemen on the ground, according to Eleazar.

Eleazar explained that the police forces placed on standby will also serve as reinforcement for their fellow cops in the frontline, noting that they must also be fully-rested to boost their immune system against COVID-19 infection. (Aaron Recuenco)