Briones: Cutting SAF troopers some slack

On the go

ASKING a 59-year-old female stroke survivor to walk five to six kilometers under the heat of the sun as punishment for allegedly carrying a fake quarantine pass might have been too much for some.

And yet, that was exactly what happened in Barangay San Nicolas, Cebu City on Thursday, July 2, 2020.

The news must have reached Brig. Gen. Albert Ignatius Ferro, Police Regional Office 7 director, because he has reprimanded members of the Special Action Force (SAF) who were responsible for the incident.

A report from another paper said the woman was on her way to buy food for breakfast when she was accosted by Tagalog-speaking policemen.

The same report said the daughter was worried that something could have happened to her mother while the latter served her punishment and the family wouldn’t have known about it.


What was a 59-year-old female stroke survivor doing outdoors in the first place? I’d understand if she lived alone because then she wouldn’t have any choice. She’d have to fend for herself. But the fact that she has a daughter who was all too willing to talk to the media about her plight only means there were other people in her household who could have gone out and made the errand that day.

Am I making sense?

So my question is, if they really cared about their mother, why did they allow her outside knowing her medical history?

By the way, I’m not defending the actions of the SAF troopers. But they were deployed to Cebu City to help COMPEL – yeah, that was the word used by Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, Joint Task Force Covid Shield commander and Philippine National Police deputy chief for operations – residents to stay at home and follow quarantine protocols.

Trust me, Cebu City is the last place they’d rather be.

I mean, how would you react if you received a marching order to go to the city with the highest number of coronavirus disease 2019 cases in the country? And you’d have to be out there, dealing with countless people, risking yourself to exposure every day?

You’d have a short fuse, too.

We don’t know the whole story. The woman might have said or done something to trigger the SAF troopers. So let’s cut them some slack. It is so easy to pass judgment and take the moral high ground when you are not in the frontline but inside the comforts of your home.

As for apprehending a media member for not having a quarantine pass, well, SAF troopers should have been fully briefed about exemptions before their arrival to avoid any confusion.

They have to bear in mind that the people of Cebu City are not the enemy.

Finally, let me remind SAF troopers at the Sambag 2 checkpoint on V. Urgello St. that there is no liquor ban in the city. So don’t stop and question me the next time you see me carrying bottles of “milk” among my essential purchases.

You’re not the only ones with a short fuse under the circumstances.


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