PNP orders police commanders to coordinate with LGUs after vaccination chaos

Published August 6, 2021, 12:37 PM

by Martin Sadongdong

The Philippine National Police (PNP) leadership told ground commanders Friday, Aug. 6, to closely coordinate with local chief executives about the vaccination systems and processes in their localities to prevent a repeat of the overcrowding seem at certain incoulation sites in the National Capital Region (NCR).

WHAT PHYSICAL DISTANCING?–A huge number people gather outside Las Piñas Medical Hospital for a scheduled vaccination on Aug. 5, 2021. (Photo by Ali Vicoy/MANILA BULLETIN)

On the eve of the re-imposition of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in NCR or Metro Manila on Thursday, crowds trooped to the vaccination centers resulting in the blatant disregard for social distancing and other minimum public health safety standards, PNP Chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said.

He noted that vaccination activities were cancelled in some centers due to the huge turnout of walk-ins who tried their luck at getting coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines. Reports said they acted out of fear from false claims that unvaccinated persons won’t neither be allowed outdoors nor get “ayuda” or government assistance.

“Hindi na dapat maulit ang nangyari na dinumog ang mga bakunahan dito sa Metro Manila at hindi nasunod ang mga minimum public health safety standards at quarantine protocols. Hindi dapat maging super spreader events ang mga pila sa vaccination centers (There should not be a repeat of the flocking of people to vaccination centers in Metro Manila and the disregard of minimum public health safety standards and quarantine protocols. The queueing at vaccination centers should not be super spreader events),” Eleazar stated.

“I have instructed all police chiefs to coordinate with local chief executives to determine the vaccination rules and process in their areas during the ECQ period. Mahalagang malaman ng ating kapulisan ang sistema at paraan ng bakunahan sa bawat lugar para makapaghanda ng sapat na bilang ng personnel na magbabantay dito (It is important for our police force to learn the system and process of the vaccination in each areas so they can prepare a sufficient number of personnel who will guard it),” he added.

Furthermore, the PNP chief also directed all Police Regional Offices (PROs) to create a platoon or a company-size quick reaction force that would be placed on standby to respond to overcrowding at vaccination centers.

He said the unnecessary flocking of residents to the vaccination areas could have been avoided had there been enough quick response forces that were immediately deployed on the ground.

He said the quick response force should “be ready for deployment on short notice” and “coordinate with the LGUs on the possible cancellation of vaccination activities in case the crowd becomes impossible to control.”

Meanwhile, Eleazar advised the public to be wary of false information being spread online regarding the vaccination program and the ECQ in NCR.

“Huwag tayong basta-basta maniwala sa fake news. Walang katotohanan na hindi papayagang lumabas kapag hindi bakunado. Hindi ito basehan kung papayagang lumabas ang isang indibidwal ngayong ECQ (Do not quickly believe fake news. It is not true that unvaccinated persons will not be allowed to go out of their homes. This [vaccination] is not a basis whether a person will be allowed to go out this ECQ period),” he said.

The rumors spread after President Duterte said last July 28 that he may order barangay captains to prevent unvaccinated persons from going out.

“Ang mga barangay captain na lang, kapag ayaw nila magpabakuna ay huwag na silang palabasin ng bahay (I will tell the barangay captains, if residents refuse to get the vaccine then don’t allow them out of their homes),” Duterte said in a televised Cabinet briefing.