By Tara Yap
ILOILO CITY – At least 41 Philippine National Police (PNP) officers in this city were placed under quarantine after they were all classified as persons under monitoring (PUMs) for possible infection of the coronavirus.
Mayor Jerry Treñas said the 41 policemen included Police Colonel Eric Dampal, chief of the Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO). All 41 of them allegedly came in close contact with another policeman, who manifested symptoms of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and classified as patient under investigation (PUI).
Dr. Roland Jay Fortuna, focal person of the Iloilo City Health Office for COVID-19, said the male policeman classified as PUI has already been tested.
“But we are still waiting for the results,” Fortuna told The Manila Bulletin.
Fortuna confirmed that the policeman suspected of having COVID-19 traveled to Metro Manila, but only manifested symptoms after undergoing the mandatory 14-day quarantine.
Meanwhile, the operations of ICPO will not be affected by the temporary absence of Dampal and 40 of his men due to quarantine.
According to ICPO Spokesperson Capt. Shella Mae Sangrines, there will be no negative effect on the manpower capabilities of the local police force in handling COVID-19 responses and other anti-criminality tasks.
Sangrines told The Manila Bulletin that ICPO personnel have been reassigned from administrative work to field work and other necessary tasks.
The Philippine Army has also been deployed to Iloilo City at the request of Treñas to augment local cops for COVID-19 response.