PNP to use virtual platforms for frontline services under ‘new normal’
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police (PNP) will implement new guidelines under the so-called new normal” triggered by the coronavirus pandemic, which includes migrating its frontline services to virtual platforms.
In a press briefing on Monday, PNP chief Gen. Archie Gamboa said the new guidelines, policies, and procedures will be observed by all PNP offices and units to ensure public health and safety as well as the protection of its personnel against the disease.
He said a study group on the “new normal” chaired by Lt. Gen. Cesar Binag, chief of the directorial staff of the PNP, has identified six key guidelines that will define the new practices for the organization.
One of these guidelines is the “use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to minimize transmission of disease by the migration of physical/in-person processes to a virtual environment thru the use of electronic communication platforms, social media, and devices such as drone, CCTV, [and] body-worn camera,” according to Gamboa.
When asked if this means there will no longer be face-to-face availing of frontline services in the PNP due to the pandemic, spokesperson Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac said: “In the future, we hope to achieve this.”
“That’s why we will continue to invest in ICT systems and infrastructure development,” he said in a text message to INQUIRER.net.
However, Banac said this excludes the reporting and filing of cases as these still need the physical presence of the complainant.
He said that services to be covered by this guideline once it can be applied are the securing of permits and licenses from the Firearms and Explosives Office, Supervisory Office on Security and Investigation Agencies, and Motor Vehicle Clearance Office, as well as police clearances from police stations.
Aside from the use of ICT in frontline services, other guidelines under the “new normal” in the PNP are the following:
– Adherence to minimum health standards or non-pharmaceutical interventions defined by the Department of Health that do not involve vaccines and medications
– Revised deployment scheme or work schedule – adjustments to ensure that all PNP personnel, particularly front-liners, are free from infection and are fit for work through a work-from-home arrangement, skeleton workforce, four-day or compressed workweek and staggered working hours
– Enhanced personal knowledge and competency – integration of health-related learning in the curriculum of different police courses and training programs
– Enhanced infrastructure adjustments in PNP workspaces (both offices and vehicles) to ensure that risk of infection is minimized
– New equipment and additional funding for test kits, personal protective equipment, collapsible tents, hospital beds, IT equipment, connectivity, and non-lethal police intervention equipment
Gamboa recognized that reconciling these guidelines with current police procedures will be a challenge.
“As I see it, a greater challenge lies in how well we can reconcile these new normal guidelines with existing policies and procedures particularly with the police operational procedures,” he said.
As of Sunday, the number of COVID-19 cases in the PNP has increased to 315, including four deaths and 163 recoveries. A total of 677 are considered COVID-19 suspects while 696 are tagged as probable cases. RELATED STORY
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