PNP's advice to cops who won't follow mask mandate: Just resign | Inquirer News

PNP’s advice to cops who won’t follow mask mandate: Just resign

/ 11:49 AM June 13, 2022

MANILA, Philippines — Police officers and officials who refuse to heed the national government’s COVID-19 protocols on face mask use should just resign, Philippine National Police (PNP) officer-in-charge Lt. Gen. Vicente Danao Jr. said on Monday.

During a briefing after the flag ceremony at Camp Crame, Danao reminded policemen that they are part of a government agency serving on a national scale, thus should only follow the directive of either the Secretary of the Interior and Local Government, or the Commander-in-chief, the President.


Danao made the pronouncements amid the recent standoff between the Department of the Interior and Local Government and the Cebu provincial government on the use of face masks outdoors as Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia earlier signed an executive order last June 8 making the wearing of face masks outdoors optional, and required only on poorly-ventilated spaces.


READ: In Cebu province: Face masks no longer required outdoors

“Well, nasa kanya ‘yan ‘no, pamalakad niya ‘yan eh,” Danao said of Garcia’s executive order. “Pero ang sinasabi ko nga, ‘yong pulis na under ng national government, sumunod kayo sa pinag-uutos ng hierarchy. Ngayon kung ayaw niyo sumunod, eh ‘di magresign kayo kasi ayaw niyo sumunod, ‘di ba? Gano’n lang kasimple.”

(Well, that is within her prerogative. But what I am saying is, police are under the national government, they should obey what is stated by the hierarchy. Now if you do not want to follow, just resign because you can’t follow. It’s that simple.)

“But insofar as the [PNP] is concerned, mapa-Cebu PPO ka man or kahit saan mang probinsya ‘yan (even if that is within Cebu or whatever province), we should follow the instruction or the mandate especially so coming from our Commander-in-Chief,” he added.

Danao’s statements came after he was asked about the varying views of the Cebu Police Provincial Office (PPO) and the Police Regional Office – 7 (PRO-7) on the protocol, as Cebu PPO director Col. Engelbert Soriano said that he would be guided by Garcia’s executive order No. 16.

But PRO-7 director Brig. Gen. Roque Eduardo Vega — Soriano’s superior — still urged the public to continue wearing masks even outdoors.


READ: Mask on or off? Even Cebu top cops are split

Danao said he has already talked to Vega about the order, adding that the regional director has been firm in implementing the protocols of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) — the national government body that still requires wearing of face masks.

“I have talked already with the RD and he is firm in implementing, eh what is — ano ba naman ‘yong magsuot ka lang ng face mask. Okay, sabi ko nga nire-respeto po natin ‘yong autonomy, ‘yon pong iginawad na pamamalakad ng ating Governor,” Danao said.

(I have already talked with the RD and he is firm in implementing the protocols. What is difficult about wearing face masks? Okay, as I have said, we respect autonomy, and how the Governor runs things.)

“However, sa mga pulis (for the police), we are under national government, you follow the instruction from the national headquarters. Now, if you think you cannot follow, you resign. Gano’n lang kasimple (It’s simple). Okay, resign,” he repeated.

The acting PNP chief also took a pot shot at a certain ‘iho’ — a police official whom he did not explicitly name — for trying to play politics.

“Now ‘yong mga matitigas naman ang ulo dahil sumisipsip ka d’yan, eh napakabata mo pa iho para mamulitika, sa totoo lang. ‘Wag ka mamulitiko d’yan, you do your job there,” he said.

(Now, to those who are hard-headed because they are trying to earn favors from officials — honestly, son, you are still too young to engage in politics there. Do not engage in politics, you just do your job there.)

Despite a relatively lower number of cases after the COVID-19 surge last January, health authorities have advised against allowing people to go outdoors without masks, especially with the threat of the highly transmissible Omicron subvariants.

President Rodrigo Duterte has been adamant at keeping face mask rules until his term ends, stressing that the risk of COVID-19 is not yet over. He also said in past briefings that the continuous masking protocol may be one of the reasons why the Philippines has been faring better than other countries that experienced a spike in infections after going mask-less.

READ: Mask rule stays until end of my term – Duterte 

During the same briefing, Danao also reminded PNP personnel — including officials — that they are part of the national government and must adhere to the directives of the President and the Interior Secretary.

“Just [a piece of] advice to all members of the [PNP], and this is not only addressed to the Cebu province and the Cebu PRO-7, but to all members of the [PNP]. Remember, we are members of the national government,” Danao said.

As to whether people would be arrested for not wearing masks, Danao said that he has always reminded police personnel to be tolerant of violators — and if possible, provide them masks if they cannot afford to buy them.

READ: It’s mask off in ‘open, outdoor’ spaces in Cebu 

However, the problem would be with those who fail to heed the order even with the reminder from the police — especially if the violator is found to be positive for COVID-19.

“Ang lagi naman po naming sinasabi since Day 1 is let us maximize tolerance, give them maximum tolerance, kung kaya nga natin na tayo na mismo ang magpo-provide ng face mask eh ‘di bakit hindi.  Pero ‘yong may matitigas talaga ang ulo, lalo na if found positive sa COVID, eh ‘yan ang medyo ano talaga siguro,” he explained.

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(What we have always said since Day 1 is let us maximize tolerance, give them maximum tolerance, if we can actually do it, why not provide them face masks as well. But there are hard-headed people who may be apprehended especially if found that they are positive for COVID-19.)

Danao also reminded the public that those who refuse to wear face masks run the risk of getting infected from COVID-19 — especially as most of Cebu province is under Alert Level 2.

EDV, je
TAGS: Cebu, PNP‎

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