PHILIPPINE National Police (PNP) Chief Archie Gamboa on Tuesday, August 4, 2020, said they will re-assess the situation of their nurses and doctors following reports that they are also close to their breaking point because of the rising cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
Gamboa said he has yet to receive a formal report from the PNP Health Service about the alleged complaints of their healthcare workers.
“That's why a reassessment is needed para magkaroon siguro kami ng heart-to-heart talk with the Health Service kung ano ba talaga because we are trained to pursue our duties primarily. Pero ‘yung pag-iisip mo sa sarili mo dapat secondary na lang ‘yun. Ang dapat una mong iniisip is ‘yung duty,” he said in a press briefing at Camp Crame.
“Well just like what is the current national situation that's why the health workers themselves requested for a time-out so I hope naman the PNP is also requesting for a time-out pero hindi ganun kalala naman because remember our hospitals in the PNP mababa ang category so we don't expect na mga grabe na patients to be admitted in the hospitals because of our capability. Time-out doon sa public maybe, not time-out para sa PNP,” he added.
As of August 3, a total of 2,283 policemen have been infected with Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
Eleven had died from Covid-19 while 1,251 have recovered.
The PNP said there are also 2,199 Covid-19 suspect cases and 862 probable cases.
Despite these Covid-19 cases among policemen, Gamboa said there is no time-out for the PNP personnel, particularly those manning the quarantine control points, as they are mandated to enforce quarantine rules.
“Hindi puwede mag time-out ang PNP. We are not authorized to call for a time-out in the PNP. We have to continue. Marami naman ang PNP (personnel). We are totaling already 209,000 so there is no reason why the PNP should say also time-out,” Gamboa said.
Gamboa issued the statement after President Rodrigo Duterte said police stations will serve as Covid-19 vaccination centers once the vaccine becomes n available.
To ensure the safety of their men, Gamboa tasked PNP Deputy Chief for Administration Police Lieutenant General Camilo Pancratius Cascolan to check on their men, especially the health workers.
"I gave instructions to General Cascolan na try to reevaluate also our forces kasi nakita niyo naman sabi nga ni Presidente pati 'yung PNP will be used already so sabi ko let us reexamine the availability of our medical reserved force," Gamboa said.
The police medical frontliners are not only manning the PNP General Hospital, but also the quarantine facilities at the Philippine Sports Complex-ULTRA in Pasig City and at the PICC in Pasay City.
Gamboa noted the importance of having enough personal protective equipment for their medical reserved force and for the personnel of the PNP Health Service amid the health crisis.
“Ang guidance ko sa mga unit commanders, first PPE talaga and then health mismo ng mga personnel like to observe a number of sleeping hours, through rotation and then many Vitamin C for themselves,” he said.
Meantime, Gamboa sought the cooperation of the public particularly in the areas under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) to help stop the spread of the virus by avoiding non-essential trips and complying with minimum health standards.
“We appeal to the public in areas under MECQ to stay at home. Ito ay bilang tulong na ninyo sa ating mga medical frontliner, police frontliner, at mga tanod at kawani ng barangay na halos limang buwan nang nakikipagbuno sa pandemya,” he said.
“We are asking for your full cooperation, to help save lives and to ease the burden of your health and police frontliners,” he added.
Metro Manila and the provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Rizal and Bulacan are under MECQ until August 15. (SunStar Philippines)