PHILIPPINE National Police chief, General Archie Francisco F. Gamboa, yesterday ordered a stepped-up offensive against armed and defiant illegal drug traffickers in the country with an instruction for his men to exercise all necessary precautions to ensure they won’t be harmed by their targets.
“I have echoed the guidance of President Rodrigo R. Duterte for PNP units to seize every opportunity to be on the offensive against illegal drugs. An all-out offensive put the lives of our PNP personnel at risk so we must exercise all possible precaution to ensure that they are safe and that no lives are lost,” he said just hours after a Parañaque City police officer was shot and killed by a suspected drug dealer in Baclaran.
Another policeman was also injured during the shootout which also led in the killing of the suspect.
Gen. Gamboa told a press briefing at Camp Crame that over the weekend, they held a command conference attended by members of the PNP Command Group, the PNP Directorial Staff, Directors of National Support Units and the 17 Police Regional Office directors.
During the conference, the PNP chief ordered all PNP Regional Directors to initiate operations against ‘high-value targets’ belonging to the Top 10 Most Wanted Drug Personalities in their areas.
He also called for the maximum use of information and communication technology by going digital. “Digital law enforcement ensures faster exchange of information and tactical accuracy on the ground,” he said.
The PNP chief said they will also sustain this year the need to fill-up vacancies in the PNP due to attrition and personnel requirements; fast-track the construction of another RT-PCR laboratory in Central VIsayas.; advance the training on the management of social media platforms of PNP units; and adopt to new normal modes of holding traditional events and ceremonies.
“We discussed lengthily the pressing concerns confronting the PNP in relation to the prevailing national health emergency, primarily on healthcare and force protection aspects as we adapt to the new operating environment,’ he added in the wake of concerns that members of the PNP Drug Enforcement Group, the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, the PNP Integrity Monitoring and Enforcement Group and local territorial units are also exposed to the COVID-19 virus while conducting anti-criminality operations and serving search warrants or warrants of arrests.
Gen. Gamboa said that thru the initiative of the PNP Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management, they are publishing a Revised PNP First Responders’ Manual under the New Normal to emphasize the observance of minimum health standards in a crime scene; modified duty rotation of mobile and beat patrollers; orientation of safety health safety protocols; and proper use of protective equipment.
He said that a similar Revised Manual for Police Investigators is also being finalized to better equip PNP crime investigators with investigative tools and technology that will not only minimize the risk of exposure to the COVID-19 virus but will also enhance capacity to solve and monitor cases, serve court processes and harmonize the functions of the criminal justice system.
The “PNP Investigator’s Handbook in the ‘New Normal’” contains the General Principles of Investigation and the General Investigative Procedures which will serve as an updated “Go-To Guide” for all investigators who respond to crime incidents, he explained.
The PNP chief said that law enforcement operations during the 75-day Enhanced Community Quarantine period and the continuing General Community Quarantine have exposed members of the police force to the risk of infection such that there had been 499 confirmed COVID-19 cases among PNP personnel.
“But with an almost 60 percent recovery rate posted by the PNP healthcare system, 155 fully-recovered personnel have been restored to full-duty fit-to-work status, out of the 288 PNP patients who have been declared cured of the infection. The rest of the recovered PNP patients are just awaiting completion of the required quarantine and monitoring period,” he said.
Nonetheless, Gen. Gamboa express belief that it is in protecting their own personnel that the PNP is able to protect and serve the Filipino people better.