President Rodrigo Duterte once again turned to uniformed personnel to help address the threat of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
In a televised briefing from the Presidential Guest House in Panacan, Davao City on Monday, Duterte ordered Interior Secretary Eduardo Año to deploy cops to transport contact tracers to the homes of COVID-19 patients.
“Magpahatid ng kung anong sasakyan diyan sa pulis, doon sila sumakay, ihatid sila ng pulis doon sa boundary. Beyond that, ibang pulis na naman ang magsasalo sa kanila para hanapin ‘yung tao,” Duterte instructed.
“The police have the resources, pati ‘yung barangay captain, na malaman nila kung saan ito (COVID-19 patient) nakatira. That would be the fastest way of doing the tracing kasi kung may pera at may sasakyan the better… Pero kung wala, the police has to sacrifice and contribute,” he added.
The government was previously criticized for its “highly militarized” response to COVID-19.
Despite this, Duterte renewed his vow to support policemen.
“Mga pulis ko, tutal wala kayong masasabi sa akin, full support ako sa inyo at ‘yung mga kaso ninyo na duty-connected, 'wag kayong mag-alala, sabi ko, dedepensahan ko kayo,” he said.
Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., chief implementer of the government's COVID-19 response, earlier acknowledged a gap in the country’s contact tracing efforts. —LDF, GMA News