PNP gears up for imminent extension of Luzon-wide quarantine

PNP gears up for imminent extension of Luzon-wide quarantine

MANILA, Philippines — Even if the government has yet to decide on the extension or expansion of the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said Monday it is already preparing for such a probability.

According to PNP, among its preparations is the creation of the PNP Administrative Support to COVID-19 Operations Task Force (ASTF), which will ensure the “efficient” delivery of administrative support for the ongoing operations of Joint Task Force COVID-19 Shield.

PNP chief Gen. Archie Gamboa has designated Deputy Chief for Administration Lt. Gen. Camilo Cascolan as the task force commander with Directorial Staff chief Maj. Gen. Cesar Binag as assistant task force commander.

In a statement, Gamboa said the establishment of ASTF is in “preparation for a possible extension of the Enhanced Community Quarantine in Luzon, and management of local health emergencies in other areas.”

“We are preparing our optimum and efficient management, distribution and utilization of resources and supply chain for the long haul,” he also said in a statement.

Officials from the eight PNP Directorial Staff offices were designated as members of the task force to oversee administrative requirements within the functional field of their respective directorates.

The officials will compose the five functional task groups under ASTF, which are the following:

  • Task Group Personnel Support: to supervise deployment, reserve forces, and legal support
  • Task Group Logistical Support: to oversee requirements for transportation, PPE, decontamination facilities, food supply, communication requirements, and test kits
  • Task Group Financial Support: to ensure timely provision of financial support to implement activities of ASTF in support of Joint Task Force COVID-19 Shield
  • Task Group Health Management and Medical Reserve Force: to address health-related issues in the operations of Joint Task Force COVID-19 Shield and provide real-time monitoring of the status of PNP personnel affected by COVID-19
  • Task Group Contact Tracing: to ensure timely and efficient contact tracing of PNP personnel confirmed or suspected to be infected

Among the administrative actions earlier implemented by PNP were adjustments in the deployment of personnel to frontline operations to protect families of PNP personnel, processing hazard pay to police frontliners, and a 30-day suspension of loan payments by PNP personnel to accredited private financial institutions and lending houses.

President Rodrigo Duterte has placed the whole of Luzon under enhanced community quarantine until midnight of April 13 to contain the transmission of COVID-19, a highly contagious respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus or SARS-CoV-2, which outbreak started in the city of Wuhan, Hubei province in China late last year.