THE Joint Task Force Coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) Shield (JTF) has ordered police commanders to ensure proper coordination with local officials and other concerned individuals before conducting any simulation exercises (simex) in their areas of responsibility.
Lieutenant General Guillermo Eleazar, JTF commander, said this is to avoid confusion and panic among passersby.
“This is to prevent confusion and panic on the part of the people who may misinterpret any conduct of simex as a real police operation. Coordination with friendly forces is also necessary to avoid any unnecessary confrontation and untoward incidents,” he said in a statement on Sunday, September 27, 2020.
“It is also important that a signage would be placed near the simex operation area in order to properly inform the public of what the police presence and scenarios are all about,” he added.
Eleazar made the statement following the conduct of simex near the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) complex in Pasay City on Friday, September 25, created panic and fear among joggers, passersby and tenants of nearby establishments.
Based on a report from the Pasay City Police, police simulated a shooting incident involving a prominent personality in the time of Covid-19 where health protocols should strictly be followed.
Eleazar cited a similar incident in Camarines Sur in April, when a video of a simulation exercise went viral on social media.
The video was circulated on the heels of the death by shooting of ex-Army personnel Winston Ragos near a quarantine control point on Maligaya Drive, Barangay Pasong Putik in Quezon City.
The incident drew public outrage, especially after it was revealed that Ragos had suffered from work-related post traumatic stress disorder. (Third Anne Peralta-Malonzo/SunStar Philippines)