MANILA – Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Friday clarified that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is not involved in the crafting of guidelines regarding the community quarantine which will be implemented over in Metro Manila starting March 15.
“The military will not be involved in the determination of the guidelines to enforce the restricted movement,” Lorenzana said in a message to reporters.
He added that this is the task of the Philippine National Police (PNP).
“It is the PNP. The military will just be in the support role as they do not have police powers. I am sure the DILG (Department of the Interior and Local Government) and PNP are now coming up with the guidelines,” Lorenzana said.
Meanwhile, Lorenzana said the DND will maintain a skeletal civilian workforce for its frontline services and other critical office functions.
This is pursuant to the directive of President Rodrigo Duterte based on the March 12 resolution of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infections Diseases (IAFT-EID) which states the work in offices under the executive branch will be suspended.
“The Armed Forces of the Philippines will continue its operations, including its support to the ongoing measures to contain the spread of COVID-19. The AFP shall assist the Philippine National Police in implementing the community quarantine in certain areas, and will help ensure the availability of units and personnel, critical logistics and supplies, as well as emergency medical teams, among others,” he said.
He added that other civilian bureaus, specifically the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office, Office of Civil Defense, National Defense College of the Philippines and Government Arsenal are encouraged to “adopt their own workforce measures to ensure the continuity of frontline and essential services, such as the processing of veterans claims and production of materiel”.
Lorenzana also ordered the implementation of guidelines issued by the IATF-EID, including social distancing measures, enforcing proper workplace hygiene, and early medical treatment when symptoms manifest in the workforce.
Meanwhile, the AFP’s Joint Task Force-National Capital Region (JTF-NCR) said it is requesting additional personal protection equipment (PPEs) for its troops who will be tasked to support the PNP in its community quarantine mission.
“PPEs are already provided and we are requesting for the additional PPEs for our troops to be deployed,” JTF-NCR public affairs officer, 1st Lt. Arrianne O. Bichara said in a message. (PNA)