By Dhel Nazario
The Marikina city government aided in the testing of personnel from the Philippine National Police (PNP) on May 6, Wednesday, citing the importance of testing frontliners during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).
For the first batch of testing, at least 50 police officers from the Marikina Police and Eastern Police District (EPD) underwent swab test for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Mayor Marcy Teodoro met with National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief Maj. Gen. Debold Sinas and EPD director Brig. Gen. Johnson Almazan to discuss the mass testing of policemen using the newly opened Marikina Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory.
The mayor has underscored the salience of taking care of frontline personnel especially policemen who ensure the peace and order in the city during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Panahon na ngayon para pangalagaan ang ating frontliners, hindi lang mga medical workers natin, kundi pati non-medical. Dahil mahabang panahon na may exposure sila, gusto natin silang magkaroon ng supportive medical treatment (It’s time we look out for the welfare of our frontliners, not just our medical workers, but even the non-medical ones. They’ve been exposed for so long, so we want them to have supportive medical treatment),” Teodoro said.
“Ang isa pang dahilan kung bakit tini-test ang mga frontliners natin, maaring asymptomatic sila o walang sintomas, walang nararamdaman, pero if infected sila with the virus ay baka maging carrier sila. ‘Yun din iniiwasan natin dahil sa dami rin ng taong nakakasalamuha nila (Another reason why we are testing our frontliners is because they might be asymptomatic. They could be fine but are already infected by the virus and have become carriers. That’s what we are trying to prevent, with the number of people they encounter),” he added.
Because of the quick result of the tests, Teodoro said policemen would not need to stay away from their families, which many of them have done for almost a month because of the 14-day quarantine protocol.
“Paglabas, if positive sila, diretso sila sa hospital natin para makatanggap immediately ng medical supportive treatment. Kung negative naman sila, makakauwi sila at hindi na kailangan pa nilang magsakripisyo, makakauwi na sila sa kanilang mga pamilya (If they returned positive, they will go straight to the hospital to receive immediate medical supportive treatment. If they are negative, they will go home and they will not have to sacrifice, they will go home to their families),” the mayor said.
Teodoro said the result of the swab tests will be determined within 24 hours, using the “gold-standard” polymerase chain reaction (PCR) machines procured by the local government for the testing center.
Thanks to the recently accredited testing center of Marikina, the mayor said the local government is capable of conducting mass testing of its suspected cases for COVID-19, for immune-compromised residents, and for frontliners.
He added that 40 police officers from the Marikina Police and 10 from the EPD underwent swab test at the Marikina Hotel, which serves as one of the quarantine facilities.
Sinas and Almazan are the first high-ranking police officials in Metro Manila who were tested for the disease by the COVID-19 testing center of Marikina.
The swabbing was supervised by the City Health Office personnel who were in full personal protective equipment. The samples taken from those tested were then brought to the Marikina Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory.