MANILA – The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Friday said it is now waiting for a license to operate its own coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) testing center, after being certified by the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM).
“Wala pa ‘yung License to Operate (We have no license to operate yet). We hope to get it soon para makapag-test na agad ng (so we can immediately conduct tests on) PNP personnel. Pero wala pang (information) sa capacity kung ilan (We have yet to get information on its capacity, on how many tests can we conduct) per day,” PNP spokesperson, Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac said in a message to the Philippine News Agency.
Lt. Gen. Camilo Cascolan, commander of the Administrative Support to Covid-19 Operations Task Force (ASCOTF), said the reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) facility at the PNP Crime Laboratory in Camp Crame received the certification as an independent testing center from the RITM on May 13.
The PNP has also complied with the requirement of training 15 personnel from PNP Crime Laboratory as operators of the RT-PCR facility.
Cascolan previously asked the RITM for the PNP to have its own RT-PCR Testing Center for the mass testing of its personnel.
As ordered by PNP chief, Gen. Archie Gamboa, the PNP’s testing center would also cater to civilians.
As of Thursday, the number of police officers who have tested positive for Covid-19 has reached 260.
Banac said the PNP Health Service (PNPHS) is also monitoring 788 probable cases and 574 suspect cases.
Meanwhile, 84 patients have recovered from the disease, while four have died.
Zero tolerance for erring cops
Meanwhile, the PNP vowed to go after police front-liners involved in sexual abuse amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The PNP takes these allegations seriously because we respect women and honor their role in society. We will never tolerate any form of physical or sexual abuse against women,” Gamboa said in a statement.
He made this remark in response to reports of police officers who sexually prey on women in exchange for them to be allowed to cross borders amid quarantine protocols.
“The moment a police officer commits a crime, he stops being an officer of the law and becomes a criminal, a sexual predator,” he said.
“I strongly urge those unnamed sources to immediately report to the PNP and to file charges against suspected wrongdoers,” he added. (ia/PNA)