OCD disclaims bringing in chemicals for quarantine facility; PNP welcomes NBI probe

Published June 8, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Aaron Recuenco

The chemicals that were used to prepare the decontamination solution at the Philippine Sports Arena temporary quarantine facility in Pasig City were not brought in by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) – Office of the Civil Defense (NDRRMC-OCD).

The alleged improper preparation of the decontamination solution used at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City was believed to be the reason why Police Capt. Casey Gutierrez died and four other policemen were hospitalized in two separate incidents on May 24 and June 1.

READ MORE: PNP doctor dies of disinfectant poisoning, 2 other cops hospitalized

Sources from the NDRRMC-OCD claimed that personnel of the PNP Health Service and the PNP’s Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosive (CBRNE) unit prepared the decontamination solution for the Philippine Sports Arena-Temporary Treatment and Monitoring Facility (PSA-TTMF).

Sought for comment, PNP spokesman Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac said they welcome the information from the OCD with regard to the issue, especially on the aspect of the alleged use of chemicals purportedly donated to the PNP.

“This will form part of fact-finding that are now being conducted and that of the NBI,” Banac told the Manila Bulletin in an interview.

The Office of Civil Defense (OCD) has never turned over any decontamination solution chemical to the Philsports Arena quarantine facility, except for alcohol maybe,” a source told the Manila Bulletin in an interview.

PNP chief Gen. Archie Gamboa earlier said that it is the OCD which is in charge of the PhilSports Arena quarantine facility. Thus, he said, the agency should be included in the investigation of the National Bureau of Investigation where the family of Gutierrez reportedly sought assistance.

“Everything in both PICC (Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) and Ultra (Philsports Arena in Pasig) are managed by the OCD. So it’s OCD which will put in their service providers,” Gamboa said in a press briefing at Camp Crame.

“On the part of the investigation, I hope NBI if they will acquire jurisdiction over the case I hope they will include everything from the service provider, from OCD to the PNP primarily to find whose responsible and second objective also is to improve on our system,” he added.

What the OCD provides to the PhilSports Arena, according to the sources, are food catering, janitorial services which include cleaning and waste disposal, medical supplies and the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

On March 24, Gutierrez complained of difficulty in breathing after allegedly inhaling toxic chemicals from the decontamination solution being sprayed on personnel manning the PhilSports Arena. He died on May 30.

Gutierrez’s two companions were also hospitalized. On June 1, the Manila Bulletin learned that two more cops were hospitalized after being sprayed by decontamination solution at Philsports Arena.