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Election security template to be used in securing vaccination program- PNP

A MASSIVE security template already used by the Philippine National Police to ensure ‘honest, orderly and peaceful elections’ in the country since 1992 will be the same one to be rolled out during the government’ vaccination program to fight the further spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus, the PNP leadership assured the public.

PNP chief, General Debold M. Sinas has ordered the launching of PNP Security Plan: Caduceus to ensure their readiness in the rollout of the government’s mass vaccination program against COVID-19 specifically in ensuring the safe and unhampered transport of the vaccines across the country.

PNP Deputy Chief for Operations and concurrent Joint Task Force COVID-19 commander, Lieutenant Gen. Cesar Hawthorne R. Binag said their previous concept to secure national, local and even barangay elections in the country will be used in securing the rollout of the vaccination program.

“All security plans are driven by security threat and risk assessment kaya nakafocus ka sa mga risk factors and threat groups like CTG (Communist Terrorist Groups) and LTGs (Local Terrorist Groups too,” said the official.

Lt Gen. Binag said the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency has given them a presentation regarding their threat assessment during the vaccination program and has based their plans and programs on the NICA assessment. Sinas has also directed all 17 Police Regional Office directors to continuously assess all threat factors in their areas during the inoculation program.

PNP Director for Operations, Major Gen. Alfred S. Corpus said the PNP Security Plan ‘Caduceus’ covers security and public safety guidelines to be undertaken by the police in support to the National Task Force COVID-19 vaccination plan. The security group is headed by Binag.

The official said that although they have not received reliable information on threats from the New People’s Army, the Abu Sayyaf Group and other lawless elements in the countryside, they are not taking any chances and are ensuring that all security gaps will be filled.

In particular, he said that the vaccination program may be exploited by the NPA in their anti-government propaganda activities in a bid to project themselves as a ‘pro-people organization,’ criticize the government’s alleged lack of clear plans to acquire enough vaccines; create disinformation and sow confusion and arouse discontent among the people to highlight their narrative that the government is incompetent and has failed to fully protect its people.’

Corpus said the plan covers the need to secure the vaccines as soon as they arrived at the airports and transported to the central hubs down to the local regional warehouses/hubs and later to the vaccination centers/sites.

Police route security will be fielded during the transport of the vaccines. Corpus said that just like in every election where ballot boxes are secured by the police until the end of the canvassing, the vaccines will be guarded round-the-clock.

Successful simulation exercises have been done last week at the NAIA Terminal 2 to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine to the Philippine Lung Center and the San Jose Rodriguez Medical Center in Caloocan City; from Cebu International Airport to the Vicente Sotto Medical Center in Cebu City and from the Davao International Airport to the Southern Philippine Medical Center in Davao City.

Corpus said all 17 Police Regional Offices have also been ordered by Sinas to activate their Regional Vaccination Centers in preparation for the arrival of the Sinovac vaccine.

He said that Sinas had also committed PNP air assets during the distribution of vaccines in far-flung areas. The PNP chief also ordered the deployment of PNP Special Action Force commandos and members of Regional and Provincial Mobile Force Companies to ensure and help the smooth passage of vaccines in far-flung areas in the country.