BY AARON B. RECUENCO
There were no quarantine protocols violated when national police chief Gen. Debold M. Sinas went to Calapan City for a command visit with the local police force last week, a top police regional official said on Monday.
Brig. Gen. Pascual Muñoz, director of the Police Regional Office 4B, said Sinas even did some extra efforts to ensure that the local health safety measures of Calapan City was followed which include not availing the privilege of an unimpeded travel and exemption from quarantine and swab tests based on the advisory of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).
“He (Sinas) tried his very best to observe the highest safety standard possible even if he was legally allowed to exempt himself on some of the requirements,” said Muñoz.
The DILG advisory which was issued on February 1 this year, according to Muñoz, read: “All government officials and personnel who are on official business shall be allowed unimpeded travel to their place of destination and shall not undergo mandatory testing, and/or quarantine protocols of the local government units provided they comply with minimum health protocols.”
But despite such advisory, he said they made sure that Sinas and his companions from Camp Crame complied with the requirements of the local government units.
“Contrary to the circulating false information about the non-observance of the Covid-19 health protocols, Police General Debold Sinas actually complied and accomplished more than what was required of him for his travel to Oriental Mindoro,” said Muñoz.
He was reacting to the reports, which was sourced from the Provincial Government of Oriental Mindoro, that Sinas did not undergo the local health safety protocol when he visited the regional police camp in Calapan City on March 11. The incident triggered an uproar in social media, with some senators criticized Sinas for allegedly repeatedly violating health safety protocol.
But Muñoz explained that there are only two requirements before any Authorized Person Outside Residence is allowed entry in Calapan City: Online registration and confirmation message that the APOR is granted entry. He said these were all complied.
“The Chief PNP may not be able to comply with the requirements of which he was not aware of. The set of requirements as published in the official website of City of Calapan as well as the Confirmation message he received do not indicate additional requirements other than the registration and the confirmation message,” said Muñoz.
“Nonetheless, as an additional health measure, even if he was not required by the City of Calapan, the Chief, PNP had himself tested for RT-PCR on March 9, 2021 which has a negative result allowing him to travel. On the day of his travel to Calapan City on March 11, 2021, he again had himself swabbed but this test was intended for his supposed subsequent itinerary to Palawan. When he learned of the positive result of his last RT-PCR in the afternoon of March 11, 2021, he immediately made the announcement as part of the COVID 19 health protocol and cut short his scheduled trip,” he added.
Muñoz also said that the minimum health safety standard protocol during the entire Sinas visit was strictly observed, such as wearing of face mask and face shield.