Elite PNP-SAF, Army to beef up lockdown in Navotas City

JOINT Task Force COVID Shield commander Lieutenant General Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar yesterday said that 348 soldiers and policemen would be sent to Navotas City to help the local police implement a city-wide lockdown ordered by Mayor Toby Tiangco to help prevent the further spread of the killer virus.

The official said that Philippine National Police chief General Archie Francisco F. Gamboa and Armed Forces chief Gen. Felimon Santos approved the deployment of the additional PNP and AFP personnel in Navotas City.

The fresh troops, some of them commandos from the elite PNP Special Action Force will reinforce the Navotas City Police Station in implementing the lockdown order starting on Thursday, July 16 due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the area.

The Joint Task Force COVID Shield was instructed by Local Government Secretary Eduardo M. Año to assist the Navotas City government in implementing its lockdown order.

Eleazar, 100 of the policemen will come from the Northern Police District headed by Brigadier Gen. Ronald Genaro E. Ylagan and another 100 from the National Capital Region Police Office headed by Major Gen. Debold M. Sinas.

Eighty-one others are from the PNP-SAF under Maj. Gen. Amando Clifton B. Empiso; 42 from the PNP Maritime Group headed by Brig. Gen. Jireh Omega Fidel and 25 soldiers from the AFP Joint Task Force-NCR headed by Brig. Gen. Alex Luna.

“Our task is to contain the unnecessary movement of people and keep all residents at home except for the medical front-liners and other people who are authorized to go out. The other task is to ensure that APOR (Authorized Persons Outside Residence) shall follow the health protocols,” said Lt. Gen. Eleazar.

Based on the latest data, Navotas City has almost 1,000 cases with more than half of them described as active cases. At least 325 cases have recovered while 59 residents succumbed to the infection. The 220 beds set up by the Navotas City LGU for its infected residents have already reached the full capacity, officials said.

Mayor Toby Tiangco said workers will still be allowed to continue with their job. A quarantine pass will be given to each family but they will only be allowed to go out of their house based on the schedules that will be prepared by the LGUs, especially the barangay officials.

All vehicles that have no business in the city and are merely passing through would be asked to use only main roads of North Bay Boulevard, Road 10 and Lapu-Lapu Avenue.

Markets and grocery stores will be allowed to open from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. from Monday to Saturday only and close on Sunday for disinfection.

Mayor Tiangco said all those who are allowed to go out of their house must wear face mask and observed physical distancing. He also increased the fine for parents who allow their children to play outside their homes from P300 to P1,000.

Maj. Gen. Empiso said they will also be deploying several vehicles that will be utilized for the conduct of checkpoints and patrol. “Our contingent is now on standby at Camp Bagong Diwa, and ready for deployment at any time.” the official said.

Personnel from the PNP Maritime Group will be tasked to regularly patrol the Navotas coastlines and prevent unauthorized movement of vessels.

With Edd Reyes