By Martin Sadongdong
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) was not spared by the scourge of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) after 33 personnel were confirmed to have acquired the viral illness, military officials bared on Monday.
Of these cases, 22 are soldiers, six are dependents, three are non-AFP civilians, one is a reservist, and one is a civilian human resource, said Brigadier General Edgard Arevalo, AFP spokesperson, citing latest information.
The good news is that among the cases, there were 20 recoveries — all recorded at the V. Luna Hospital, where military personnel afflicted by the COVID-19 are being admitted — and zero deaths.
“By God’s grace, walang fatality due to COVID-19 (there’s no fatality due to COVID-19 [in the AFP]),” Captain Jonathan Zata, AFP public affairs office chief, confirmed.
Meanwhile, the remaining COVID-19 patients were still being observed in military hospitals or undergoing home isolation, Arevalo noted.
The AFP spokesperson also said that the AFP has 141 probable cases, 111 of which are soldiers, while four are dependents. There were also 177 suspected cases, which include 141 soldiers and 21 dependents.
Arevalo reminded the military personnel to be extra careful as they are needed in the enforcement of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) protocols to contain the virus.
The military was tapped by President Duterte to assist the Philippine National Police (PNP) in implementing the extended ECQ over Luzon, which is set to lapse on April 30.
Last week, Duterte ordered the military and police to prepare for a possible takeover in the enforcement of government’s COVID-19 preventive measures following reports of rampant violation of ECQ and social distancing.
“They could expect more visibility patrols of AFP and PNP. You will be seeing more on them na nagpapatrolya sa kalsada na ang layunin ay ipakitang seryoso tayo sa pagpapatupad ng ECQ (You will be seeing more of them conducting joint patrols in the streets which aims to show that we are serious in the implementation of ECQ),” Arevalo said.