• Melo Acuna

Adherence to protocols needed, says JTF COVID Shield commander

Threat of COVID-19 remains high, says Lt. General Eleazar

MANILA – The Joint Task Force COVID Shield appealed to the general public to cease from returning to their hometowns to join or visit their families and relatives as soon as the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) is lifted and placed under General Community Quarantine (GCQ).

In a statement, Police Lt. General Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar, commander of the JTF COVID Shield, said the threat of coronavirus infection remains high and some of those who would go back to their homes may unknowingly bring to their hometowns the virus.

“There is already a guideline issued regarding our Locally Stranded Individuals (LSI) so we encourage our kababayans to be aware and follow it because they may interpret the lifting of the ECQ as a go-signal for them to go back to their hometowns. We will not allow that,” said General Eleazar.

He added the PNP Chief Gneral Archie Francisco Gamboa already instructed all police commanders to coordinate with local government, especially at the barangay level, to determine the number of LSIs in their areas of jurisdiction.

General Gamboa has already instructed police commanders to make sure all the processing of the certification and other documents required for the travel of LSIs are attended do at the soonest time.

General Eleazar said the PNP chief knows the need to travel but called for the observance of necessary protocols.

Included in the protocol issued by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) requires all who want to return to their hometowns need to secure a medical certificate from the health offices of the Local Government Units where they were stranded and that they are cleared of the coronavirus and they have undergone the required quarantine procedures.

Local officials of their hometowns must provide a certification that they are accepting their returning constituents.

As soon as these documents are complied with, these will be processed by the concerned police commanders for issuance of travel authority, The travel authority includes the date of travel, point of origin and destination, and name of driver and vehicles that will be used in the transport.

Lt. General Eleazar said if the area involved is within the province, the certification could be issued by the provincial director/commander and if the area involves to provinces within a region, the certification could secured from the police regional director and if the areas involved two regions, the certification will be issued by the Director of the PNP Directorate for Operations.

Those who got infected but recovered should test negative in at least two tests and should have undergone the necessary quarantine protocols before they are allowed to return to their hometowns.

Lt. General Eleazar said they are implementing strict measures for the return of the LSIs because in some cases, the virus carriers are asymptomatic and are unknowingly spreading the virus.

He further explains if individuals would insist on returning sans adherence to existing protocols, it will defeat the purpose of the strict quarantine measures that the national government implemented last March 17 and “all the sacrifices that we made will be futile.”

He appealed to the public to continue observing preventive measures to protect themselves, especially those who are eager to return to work. (Melo M. Acuña)


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