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‘Stormtroopers’ assist at Cebu checkpoints to ease tensions amid pandemic

/ 06:41 PM April 25, 2020

TK 24150 and TK 82178 manning a checkpoint in Consolacion, Cebu. Image: courtesy of the 501st Cebu Scarif Garrison

MANILA, Philippines—A unit of the Empire’s stormtroopers has decided to lend a hand to the government by manning quarantine checkpoints and donating basic necessities as the planet struggles against the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the hopes of easing tensions and spreading good vibes during these dire times, the 501st Cebu Scarif Garrison had some of its men in costume assist the police in the town of Consolacion, Cebu while the province remains under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

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“Members of the 501st Cebu Scarif Garrison were deputized by the Consolacion Philippine National Police [PNP] to help assist in the town’s quarantine checkpoints. They were deployed to help ease tensions in the area, bring smiles and goodwill to passing motorists. Move Along! Move Along! For the Empire!” the group said on a Facebook post on Friday.

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Members of the 501st Cebu Scarif Garrison were deputized by the Consolacion Philippine National Police to help assist in the town’s quarantine checkpoints. They were deployed to help ease tensions in the area, bring smiles and goodwill to passing motorists. Move Along! Move Along! For the Empire!

Posted by 501st Cebu Scarif Garrison on Thursday, April 23, 2020

The 501st Cebu Scarif Garrison is a unit of the 501st Legion of Stormtroopers, an international charity-based costuming group of “Star Wars” enthusiasts recognized and accredited by Lucas Films and Disney.

“We wanted to show that not all checkpoints are ‘frightening.’ That the inspectors can be strict and friendly at the same time. We agreed to the idea and tried it for the first time today (Friday). Somehow we got good reactions from motorists while undergoing routine inspections at the checkpoint area,” lawyer Christian Bacus, the commanding officer of the group, told INQUIRER.

Bacus recalled that he came up with their “experimental activity” while the group was handing out free meals and protective masks to their local frontliners.

“The local PNP Chief [Vernino] Noserale and I had a small discussion about stories of bad experiences felt by some motorists passing through the checkpoints and came up with the idea for our group to suit up in costumes and assist our law enforcement personnel to help ease the fear and tension of motorists when going through inspections,” he said.

The international group’s Cebuano counterpart, which was accredited in 2017, is in charge of operations in Visayas and Mindanao while its sister organization, the 501st Legion Philippine Garrison, operates in Luzon.

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“TK 24150 and TK 82178 reported for duty at the Philippine National Police’s Enhanced Community Quarantine Checkpoint in Consolacion Cebu. Order and Discipline will be enforced… funny observation though.. motorists were smiling after passing through the checkpoints.. weird!!” the 501st Cebu Scarif Garrison said in another post.

Image: courtesy of the 501st Cebu Scarif Garrison

“The 501st Cebu Scarif Garrison just like most Cebuanos are resilient and are survivors. We are optimistic that [we] can win this battle as one community. We do our part to help the community and while we wear the bad guys’ costumes, we do good things in real life,” Bacus emphasized.

Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia on April 18 announced that the province of Cebu is closing off several access points to and from Cebu City as COVID-19 cases rise in the capitol. Cebu City currently has 312 confirmed COVID-19 cases.

The ECQ in Cebu City has been extended to May 15, the same as Metro Manila and other “high-risk” areas in Luzon due to the continuous spread of the novel coronavirus. The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Friday recommended that Cebu province, along with other areas, should likewise extend the ECQ currently implemented.

Amid the quarantine, however, the 501st Cebu Scarif Garrison promises to continue with their charity work as part of their annual “May the 4th” worldwide celebration. While most of the celebration’s related activities have been canceled, Bacus noted that they will “pursue to raise funds and assist local frontliners by giving them free meals and PPEs for the duration of the ECQ.”

“The Garrison would like to let the People of not just Cebu but for everyone, that though times are tough, we are a tougher community. We have persevered many challenges and we will continue to persevere until this challenge will come to pass. For now we ask everyone to stay healthy and stay home and to all our front liners, we commend you for all your effort, we thank you all for your service. May the Force be with us all,” Bacus added.

For more news about the novel coronavirus click here.
What you need to know about Coronavirus.
For more information on COVID-19, call the DOH Hotline: (02) 86517800 local 1149/1150.

The Inquirer Foundation supports our healthcare frontliners and is still accepting cash donations to be deposited at Banco de Oro (BDO) current account #007960018860 or donate through PayMaya using this link .

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TAGS: Cebu, Cebu City, Checkpoints, Consolacion, COVID-19, enhanced community quarantine, nCoV update, Star Wars, stormtroopers, Visayas
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