By Aaron Recuenco
The Philippine National Police (PNP) is now preparing a general security plan under what the government describes as a “new normal” situation amid the continuous threat of coronavirus infection.
PNP chief Gen. Archie Francisco Gamboa said the PNP security plan will center on the implementation of basic protocols that must be observed by the public while staying outside their houses, public areas and other places of convergence.
“President Duterte himself said that the COVID-19 will remain a threat until such time that a cure was discovered, or better yet, a vaccine is discovered by health experts,” Gamboa told the Manila Bulletin in a phone interview.
“Until such time that a cure or a vaccine is discovered, the PNP will remain at the frontline in ensuring the prevention of the spread of the virus especially after the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) is lifted,” he added.
Last week, Gamboa created a top-level PNP study group headed by Lt. Gen. Cesar Hawthorne Binag, the Chief Directorial Staff of the PNP, after President Duterte approved the extension of the ECQ in Metro Manila and other COVID-19 hotspots, as well as the implementation of General Community Quarantine in most areas of the country.
“The task of the study group is to craft a new memorandum circular that will strategize police operations and administration and map out courses of actions under a ‘new normal’ situation,” said Gamboa.
Thousands of policemen are currently deployed to man Quarantine Control Points and visibility in various communities in order to prevent more human-to-human transmission of the coronavirus.
At the course of the duty, 83 of them already tested positive for coronavirus, including three cops who succumbed to the fatal disease.
Expected part of the new normal is the procurement of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for policemen who would be deployed as frontliners.
Gamboa said that police forces across the country are also expected to monitor the movement of people, focusing on the implementation on safety measures to prevent transmission of the virus.
“We cannot afford to fail because many lives are at stake. I expect everyone to cooperate and support each other in this massive undertaking,” said Gamboa.