THE Philippine National Police (PNP) is assessing the situation on the ground following the easing of restrictions to determine the need to maintain or downgrade its alert status.
"Hindi pa nada-downgrade but we will assess. We will assess in a few days if we will downgrade it or not. Kasi kaya lang naman tayo nagred-alert noon, 'yun nga because of the situation...," PNP Chief Archie Gamboa said in a press briefing Monday, June 1.
"It jives with the emergency situation as declared by the national authority so sinabayan lang namin. It's a state of emergency, required 'yung presence. Of course, we have to understand also na kahit 'yung deployment namin sa opisina is also graduated," he added.
The entire PNP has been on full alert since Metro Manila was placed on enhanced community quarantine in March.
Under a full alert status, 100 percent of the police forces are on duty and are not allowed to go on leave.
Aside from implementing quarantine protocols, Gamboa said the PNP will continue to aggressively perform law enforcement functions in support of the national campaign against crime, illegal drugs, corruption and terrorism.
Gamboa said records from Integrity Monitoring and Enforcement Group (IMEG) showed that from March 16 to May 28, a total of 23 successful operations were conducted resulting in the arrest of 61 persons including 16 erring PNP members.
“Under my watch, the anti-illegal drug operations from October 14, 2019 to May 23, 2020 or 7 months and 10 days showed a total of 33,039 operations conducted, 49,648 arrested drug suspects, 2,857 personalities surrendered, a total of 812,474.36 kilos of shabu seized with a total value of 5.524 billion pesos. This manifests the aggressive anti-illegal drugs posture of the PNP during this period,” he said in a statement.
Since June 1, restrictions have been eased in Metro Manila, Cagayan Valley (Cagayan, Batanes, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya and Quirino), Central Luzon (Aurora, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Tarlac and Zambales), Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon), Pangasinan, Davao City, Central Visayas (Bohol, Negros Oriental, Siquijor and Cebu, including Cebu City and Mandaue City) and Zamboanga City.
These areas are under general community quarantine, during which public transportation systems are allowed to resume operations at limited capacity and non-essential but non-leisure businesses are allowed to reopen.
The rest of the country is under modified enhanced community quarantine (MGCQ).
Gamboa said the PNP is on a high state of readiness for the GCQ despite the challenges they may face as more people are now allowed to go out of residence which means that they have more to secure aside from the control points.
He also emphasized that checkpoints, curfew, travel restrictions, strict enforcement of physical distancing, and minimum health standards will still be implemented across the country in accordance with the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) guidelines on GCQ.
Meanwhile, Gamboa said the resumption of the PNP’s frontline services which includes the renewal of firearms licenses is scheduled for June 4.
He said they were still finalizing the guidelines on how to make sure that minimum health protocols are being observed.
“Siguro ang isipin lang ng mga tao na once we want to observe social distancing we will devise a scheduling siguro tayo ano so that we can control the population in any of the different offices of the PNP. Kunwari sa one stop shop if they can only accommodate so much then after that rather than paintayin mo sa labas, kukuha na lang sila ng schedule,” he said.
Those whose firearms licenses expired during the lockdown will be given a grace period of two months for the renewal. (SunStar Philippines)