PNP preparing for possible lockdown in parts of Metro Manila
Updated 7:17 p.m.
MANILA, Philippines — The possibility of a lockdown in certain parts of Metro Manila to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) was discussed in a meeting of some officials of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Thursday afternoon.
Dispelling rumors circulating on social media, Maj. Gen. Emmanuel Licup, head of the PNP Directorate for Operations, told INQUIRER.net that the meeting was only meant to discuss plans of the police should a lockdown be ordered by the government.
Before this confirmation, a conference notice issued by the PNP Directorate for Operations, which had leaked to the media, called for some officials of the National Capital Region Police Office and representatives from other national units of the PNP for a meeting at Camp Crame in Quezon City.
The agenda of the conference according to the notice read: “Lockdown in certain areas in NCR relative to COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019).”
Licup confirmed that the document is genuine.
“What we are confronting is an unknown enemy. We just have to be prepared,” he said.
Among those required to attend are the Deputy Regional Director for Operations of the NCRPO, Deputy Directors for Operations of the Quezon City Police District, Manila Police District, Southern Police District, and Northern Police District, as well as representatives from the PNP Directorates for Intelligence, Logistics, Police Community Relations, Investigation and Detective Management, and Comptrollership, according to the notice.
Also invited to attend are representatives of the Joint Task Force-National Capital Region of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, and the Department of Health.
Another source privy to preparations of the police has confirmed that there is no decision yet by the government to enforce a lockdown as of posting time.
The source explained that a lockdown in parts of Metro Manila – where the bulk of cases of the coronavirus disease has been confirmed – is a possible intervention measure of the government in case the number of COVID-19 positive patients increases.
He added it is up to President Rodrigo Duterte through the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Disease to order a lockdown.
Up to 40,000 police officers will be deployed to enforce lockdown in Metro Manila should it be declared by the President, according to PNP chief Gen. Archie Gamboa.
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