By Minka Klaudia Tiangco
Health workers under the Valenzuela City government were reportedly asked by police to pull out from checkpoints around the city when the Metro Manila community quarantine began on Sunday, the city mayor said.
Valenzuela City Mayor Rex Gatchalian claimed that police officers called his office at about 10 p.m. on Saturday to ask him to pull out their staff, who were in charge of thermal scanning of commuters.
The original set up was to have the city government’s health workers doing the thermal scanning while the police officers were there for visibility and to check the commuters’ and drivers’ documents, the local chief executive told reporters.
“They pulled out our staff na dapat nagthe-thermal check (who were supposed to conduct thermal check) one by one last night. Iba po ang set up na gusto nila. Last minute, they changed it kagabi (They wanted a different set up. They changed it at the last minute),” he said in a Facebook post on Sunday.
However, the health workers were assigned back to the checkpoints upon the city mayor’s order after the police reportedly failed to handle both the thermal scanning and checking of documents.
Road safety barricades were also placed at the checkpoint areas, Gatchalian said.
“They didn’t have enough hands to do the thermal checking,” he said.
“We are now upgrading the set up of the PNP (Philippine National Police). Valenzuela standards will be set up. Sila magpapatakbo pero (They will run the checkpoint operation but) we will set up the logistics as I planned,” he added.
President Duterte placed Metro Manila under community quarantine from March 15 to April 14 in a bid to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19).
During this period, land, domestic air, and domestic sea travel to and from Metro Manila are suspended.
As of writing, the Philippines has recorded 11 COVID-19 fatalities and 140 COVID-19 cases.