Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar, chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), ordered on Saturday, July 3, police commanders in Batangas to set up Police Assistance Desks in the evacuation centers for Taal Volcano evacuees to ensure security and health safety amid the threat of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Based on the latest data from the Batangas Police Provincial Office, more than 1,600 evacuees are staying in at least 10 evacuation centers in the municipalities of Laurel, Talisay, Balete and Agoncillo.
There were concerns, however, on the health safety of the evacuees on the threat of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), with some people fearing that the evacuation centers could be a ground for mass infection.
“I have already directed the Commander, JTF (Joint Task Force) COVID Shield and the RD (Reegional Director), PRO (Police Regional Office) 4A to set up Police Assistance Desks in all the evacuation centers in Batangas to ensure that their security and health safety are assured 24/7,” said Eleazar.
He said part of his order is to designate COVID-19 protocol officers that will assist local health officials in ensuring that the minimum health safety protocol are observed inside the evacuation centers where children and senior citizens are also staying.
Police personnel and PNP mobile assets were already deployed and placed on standby in various locations in the affected areas in Batangas.
Checkpoints were also set up in strategic areas in Batangas to prevent the return of local residents and deny tourists and other people entry into the declared danger zones.
Almost a thousand policemen were tapped for the implementation of measures to protect residents from the rumbling of Taal Volcano which is currently under Alert Level 3, which means hazardous eruption is possible anytime.
Aside from policemen, soldiers, firemen and personnel of the Philipine Coast Guard were also deployed.