PNP uses technology to implement quarantine rules

Published April 18, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Aaron Recuenco and Genalyn Kabiling

With many Filipinos violating home quarantine rules despite the risk of contracting and spreading the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the Joint Task Force COVID Shield (JTF COVID Shield) will be using drones equipped with loudspeaker systems to warn Filipinos to stay at home, especially in areas where the home quarantine and social distancing rules are being violated.

JTF COVID Shield commander Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said drones will be flown in various parts of Metro Manila and nearby areas to monitor the situation on the streets even at nighttime.

Eleazar said the video footage captured by the drone will be fed live to the mobile command center (MCC) for the law enforcers to monitor the situation on the ground.

“The drones with loudspeakers will blast unnerving alarms similar to the sound of the siren in the movie ‘The Purge,’ and then followed by a warning in Filipino to stay at home as COVID-19 is dangerous and can kill,” Eleazar said.

The live video recorded by the drones, Eleazar said, can also be used in the conduct of operations against home quarantine violators.

The official said the innovation in the monitoring and warning system is in response to the frustration expressed by President Duterte over those who continue to go out of their homes despite the repeated warning for them not to go out, with some of them even engaging in drinking sessions and illegal cockfighting.

Eleazar said Philippine National Police (PNP) chief General Archie Francisco Gamboa has ordered police commanders to come up with ideas to strictly implement the home quarantine and social distancing rules.


“We will be using advanced technologies in support of the current enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) through the use of the mobile command center (MCC) which is a self-contained and integrated command and control vehicle to support its implementation of focused containment strategies,” Eleazar said.

He said the MCC will be operated by the Highway Patrol Group, adding that the MCC bus features the collaboration and operations management system or COMS to support multiagency public safety and security coordination supported by some telecom and communication companies.

Eleazar said members of JTF COVID Shield will be provided with 500 units of highly secure Samsung smartphones installed with a missionessential app suite including ATAK or Android Tactical Awareness Kit.

COVID tracker

The MCC bus, according to Eleazar, will also be used as an advanced technology demonstrator platform for some innovative solutions being developed by Safer PH and its partners for a more efficient implementation of the ECQ, such as the MGOV or Mobile Government system that can provide online virtual ID for vulnerability mapping and the A.N.T.I.-C.O.V.I.D. Initiative or the Automated Nationwide Tracking of Infected Persons, Close Contact Observation, Vulnerable Persons Identification, and Decontamination.

The Safe Paths app, a privacycentered rapid and unique contact tracing app combining both GPS and bluetooth proximity technologies, will be introduced for public download. GPS positions will be logged on the smartphone every five minutes for 28 days.

“No data will leave the smartphone so privacy is ensured,” Eleazar said. If infected, Eleazar said the app users will be required to submit their location tracks to DOH. After redaction or removal of personal information, the GPS logs of the infected person will be uploaded.

Other app users will be alerted if they have close contact.

Color-coded statuses will be shown on the smartphones: green circle for no close contact, and yellow circle for those with close contact to an infected person and will need to go on selfquarantine or be tested if they have symptoms.

“Travelers will have to show their smartphone screens with status color as they pass through checkpoints. Random checks can also be done by the JTF personnel mobile teams among pedestrians,” Eleazar said.

Safer PH is introducing a new methodology to track, process, and inform thousands of close contacts of infected persons in a day compared to the current way of doing slow and tedious manual contact tracing which involves calling close contacts one by one.

Filipinos not powerless against COVID-Nograles

Filipinos are “not powerless” against the new coronavirus disease and could help prevent the “painful” deaths of people including health workers, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said yesterday.

The public could help save lives by staying at home and following other guidelines in the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) enforced by the government, he added.

As of April 18, the country has recorded 6,087 cases of the coronavirus, including 397 fatalities. The health department also recently reported that 766 health workers infected with the COVID-19 and 22 have died due to the illness.