MANILA – The Joint Task Force Corona Virus Shield (JTF CV Shield) on Tuesday said Special Action Force (SAF) commandos will be deployed in 10 areas in Metro Manila, where violations of home quarantine and physical distancing are rampant.
The SAF commandos are known to be the toughest and the strictest among operatives of the Philippine National Police (PNP).
Eleazar said the deployment of SAF commandos has been approved by PNP chief Gen. Archie Francisco Gamboa whose instruction is to ensure that the guidelines of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) to prevent the spread of the coronavirus are strictly enforced “anytime, anywhere”.
Gamboa earlier gave a go-signal for the deployment of more policemen to enforce quarantine guidelines.
Eleazar said a total of 116 SAF commandos have been deployed in various areas in Metro Manila on board six medium troop carriers (MTC) and six multi-purpose armored vehicles (MPAV).
“They will assist the local police in enforcing the ECQ. We believe that the presence of our SAF commandos will further compel hardheaded people to behave and follow the ECQ because our SAF are tough and strict when it comes to discipline,” he said in a press statement.
He added that there will no double standard in the implementation of the ECQ.
“Regardless of your social status, you will be arrested if you violate the home quarantine,” Eleazar added.
He said the SAF commandos were divided into 12 teams.
Each team is composed of eight SAF commandos.
Eleazar said the initial deployment will be in areas where violations of home quarantine and physical distancing are unrestrained based on intelligence reports and monitored social media posts.
These include Blumentritt in Sta. Cruz, Manila; Libertad in Pasay City; Pasig Palengke; Napindan public market in Taguig; public market in Lower Bicutan, also in Taguig; Las Piñas City public market; North Caloocan; Alabang public market; Bagong Parañaque public market and Marikina public market.
“Initially, these areas are where they would be assigned to enforce the ECQ. But they can transfer to other locations depending on our monitoring of areas where home quarantine and physical distancing are violated,” Eleazar said.
He said they could also increase the number of SAF commandos depending on the situation on the ground.
“We are assessing the situation on the ground on a daily basis. With the approval of our Chief PNP, we could increase the number of our SAF personnel in the coming days depending on the situation on the ground,” Eleazar added.
Meanwhile, SAF director Maj. Gen. Amando Clifton Empiso said they have enough standby forces to augment local police forces in enforcing the ECQ guidelines not only in Metro Manila but also in the provinces.
“Your SAF has always been in the frontline in any kind of battle, we are willing to do our share to win this fight against Covid-19, this time, in helping in the enforcement of the necessary measures to ensure that the virus is contained,” he said.
Eleazar also disclosed that they have stepped up the intelligence operations in Metro Manila to identify other areas where ECQ guideline violations are prevalent.
Monitoring of social media posts relating to ECQ violations was also intensified.
“We are also encouraging the public, particularly our netizens, to report to us any violation of the home quarantine and social distancing. We assure you that we will immediately act on your complaint or report. Nasa kalye man o nasa common areas ng gated subdivision o condominium ang mga violators ay magkakaroon tayo ng agarang aksyon (Whether violators are on streets or common areas of gated subdivisions or condominiums, we will act on them quickly),” he said.
Stressing that they respect human rights, Eleazar said their main concern is to uphold the people’s right to life and safety from Covid-19 in this “extraordinary time” the country is facing. (PNA)