THE Philippine National Police yesterday recorded its 25th COVID-19 fatality: a 42-year of non- commissioned officer from Central Mindanao who died of complications arising from the virus.
The PNP Health Service also said that it recorded 24 new cases on Wednesday bringing to 7,758 the total number of police officers and men who have contracted the virus since last March 16.
Of the total, 7,338 have already fully recovered from the diseases and are now back to full duty status.
PNP-HS doctors are also monitoring 395 ‘active cases’ as of press time, said new PNP-HS director, Brigadier General Nolasco K. Bathan.
PNP chief, General Debold M. Sinas earlier ordered all 17 Police Regional Office directors to create their own Station Health Units or SHUs and maintain adequate quarantine facilities that will cater to any of their personnel who will contract COVID-19.
The 25th PNP chief issued the instruction as he paid tribute to officers and men of the police force who have stood their ground without hesitation in order to serve the community well almost a year since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The PNP will not halt in providing our services through our community-oriented policing programs until we reach normalcy. In line with the challenges we face as one of the front-liners in combating COVID-19, we will ensure that the health of our PNP personnel will not be compromised,” he said.
Sinas said that adherence by his men to health standards and protocols will be strongly enforced. He also said that the conduct of ‘infodemics’ shall be properly supervised as he ordered all 17 police regional office directors to establish and maintain quarantine facilities and Station Health Units in all police stations nationwide to act as ‘force multipliers’ of the PNP-HS in the management of COVID-19 cases among their members.
“This undertaking will be backed by dedicated PNP-managed health care facilities from the PNP national headquarters down to police stations to house or cater to PNP personnel with COVID-19,” the top cop said.
When he was still the National Capital Region Police Office director, Sinas ordered the creation of SHUs in all five Metro Manila police districts. He said that the SHU acts as their own ‘force multiplier’ in the management of COVID-19 cases among their personnel.
This initiative aims to ensure and guarantee the health and safety of NCRPO’s frontline force in the battle against the COVID-19 virus and other emergency health situations,” he said.
With the increasing number of police officers infected with the virus, Gen. Sinas ordered the invigoration of initiatives geared towards strengthening NCRPO’S capabilities in the battle against the unseen killer virus.
Under the program, SHU personnel are primarily responsible in monitoring the health status of police officers within their areas of responsibility; assist personnel due for Physical Fitness Test, Annual Physical Examination, medical evaluation and other personnel medical requirements; and provide tactical medical support during station operations.
All five NCRPO districts have established their own SHUs with the Northern Police District headed by Brigadier Gen. Ronaldo Genaro E. Ylagan having five units manned by 50 policemen; the Eastern Police District with five units manned by 61 personnel; the Manila Police District under Brig. Gen. Rolando F. Miranda with 13 units manned by 87, men; the Southern Police District headed by Brig. Gen. Emmanuel B. Peralta with 8 units manned by 48 personnel and the Quezon City Police District under Brig. Gen. Ronnie S. Montejo with 13 units manned by 79 personnel.
The NCRPO-SHUs have proven to be effective in addressing emergency medical situations since they were created. Sinas cited incident which transpired inside the Mandaluyong City police jail wherein two policemen shot by an arrested suspects were immediately given medical attention in a nearby SHU before being brought to a Mandaluyong hospital.