Duterte orders PNP to assist in contact tracing efforts

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte wants the Philippine National Police (PNP) to assist in the government’s contact tracing efforts to stop the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the country.

Duterte orders PNP to assist in contact tracing efforts
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte confers with Health Secretary Francisco Duque III during a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) core members at the Presidential Guest House in Panacan, Davao City on August 10, 2020. PCOO

Duterte said in a public address on Monday that the PNP has the resources to help local officials in their contact tracing initiatives.

“Contact tracing means that ‘yung people who are doing the actual tracing will have to travel to the place where the person in question resides. Kailangan ito ng sasakyan,” he said.

Local government units (LGUs) play a crucial role in combating COVID-19 in their respective communities. But due to lack of funds and resources, they encounter hurdles in their contact tracing suspected infected individuals.

The President suggested that police mobiles should be used to ferry local contact tracers to their destinations.

“Doon sila sumakay. Ihatid sila ng pulis doon sa boundary. Beyond that, ibang pulis na naman ang magsasalo sa kanila para hanapin ‘yung tao. Because the police have the — the resources there pati ‘yung barangay captains na malaman nila kung saan ito nakatira,” he said.

“That would be the fastest way of doing the tracing kasi… Pero kung may pera at may sakyan, the better, hindi ko na mamolestiya ang pulis. Pero kung wala, then the police has to sacrifice and contribute to the solution of the problem now.”

Boosting police’s morale, President Duterte threw his support to the members of the PNP, who are among the frontliners in fighting the pandemic.

“Mga pulis ko, tutal wala kayong masasabi sa akin. Full support ako sa inyo at ‘yung mga kaso ninyo na duty-connected, huwag kayong mag-alala sabi ko, dedepensahan ko kayo,” he said.

“At hinihingi ko sa inyo, tumulong lang kayo rin sa ating bayan. Walk the extra mile to help our country.”

Last month, Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año announced that policemen would be joining in the government’s program “Oplan Kalinga” but only in a supporting capacity “limited to assisting in transporting patients and ensuring that lockdowns are imposed.”

— The Summit Express

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