MANILA – Authorities have arrested 39 persons for assault and discriminating against health workers who are battling the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said on Friday.
Citing data from the PNP, Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, commander of Joint Task Force Corona Virus Shield (JTF CV Shield), said a total of 104 cases of attacks and discrimination were recorded since the start of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) from March 17 to April 29.
“With the swift action of our police forces on the ground, a total of 66 of the 104 cases solved and cleared and a total of 39 suspects were also arrested,” Eleazar said in a statement.
Of these cases, 53 were considered as solved, 13 were classified as cleared while the remaining 38 are still under investigation.
The PNP considers a case solved if at least one of the suspects is arrested and is charged while a cleared case means that a case was filed but no suspect was arrested yet.
The 39 arrested suspects were already charged with criminal cases.
PNP chief, Gen. Archie Gamboa earlier ordered all the police commanders to ensure the protection of all health workers in their respective areas of responsibility over rising cases of attacks and discrimination against health workers.
“Our Chief PNP has already ordered for the intense manhunt operations against those who remain at large,” Eleazar said.
Among the attacks and discrimination are splashing of cleaning chemicals to health workers similar to what happened in Cebu and Cotabato and those who were evicted from their rented places.
Based on PNP data, most of the attacks and discrimination occurred in Central Visayas with 17 cases, Western Visayas with 14, Mimaropa (Mindoro provinces, Marinduque, Romblon, and Palawan) with 11 and Metro Manila with 10 cases.
There was no recorded attack against health workers at the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
Eleazar urged health workers to save in their phones or memorize the JTF CV Shield hotline numbers in order for the government to immediately respond to their security concerns: 0998-849-0013 for Smart users and 0917-538-2495 for Globe users.
The JTF CoViD Shield can also be reached through its email address: email@example.com. (ia/PNA)