CEBU CITY – The familiar sight of a throng of policemen patrolling in public places is making a return here.
At least 150 policemen from the Regional Mobile Force Batallion-Central Visayas arrived here on Friday, Jan. 21, to serve as an augmentation force and help the city’s COVID-19 response.
Gerry Carillo, chairman of the city’s Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, confirmed that the arrival of the policemen was upon the request of Mayor Michael Rama.
The newly arrived reinforcement will be distributed to the 11 police precincts in the cities.
While in the city, the policemen will help ensure that minimum health protocols such as wearing of face masks and observing proper physical distancing are strictly observed.
Carillo said it will be the city which will shoulder the food and accommodation of the policemen.
It is not the first time that a police reinforcement was brought in to back up the city’s COVID-19 response.
At the time when the city was dealing with soaring cases of COVID-19 two years ago, policemen from Regions 6 and 8 as well as personnel from the elite Special Action Force were sent in.
The city is once again faced with high number of COVID-19 cases.
The city started the year with only nine active cases but a daily sharp increase of new infections pushed its active cases to more than 5,000.
In the January 20 bulletin of the Department of Health-Central Visayas, the city tallied a whopping 994 new infections that pushed its active cases to 5,357.
Aside from ensuring the strict enforcement of the health protocols stated in the mayor’s recently issued Executive Order No. 145 that included “no vaccination, no entry” policy in enclosed establishments, the policemen will also help monitor the prices of basic medicines for fever, colds and cough.
Carillo said the city has already formed five teams to monitor the prices and possible hoarding of medicines.
“That’s the reason why we have this augmentation so that we can effectively monitor,” said Carillo.
“We are also working with the association of pharmaceuticals. We had a meeting and they will help in the investigations if there are hoardings,” adde Carillo.
Carillo admitted that they have received reports that paractemol is being sold at P10 each from its original price of P3.
Carillo said overpricing of basic medicines is also being monitored by the regional National Bureau Investigation.
“Right now, we will conduct inspection in all pharmaceuticals. We will monitor upon the assignment of theswle police officers, we will now monitor all pharmaceuticals, drug stores and even stores,” Carillo said.
Carillo, who is a lawyer, said an increase of 20 percent, hoarding or manipulation of prices are punishable under Republic Act 7841.