(Eagle News)–Two companies of the Philippine National Police’s elite Special Action Force will be deployed to Cebu City to help implement the enhanced community quarantine there.
In a statement, Joint Task Force COVID Shield commander Police Lieutenant General Guillermo Eleazar said apart from the 150 personnel “mobility assets” that include “multi-purpose armored vehicles similar to what we used in the implementation of ECQ in Metro Manila” will be deployed.
“We have already coordinated with the Philippine Coast Guard and the Armed Forces of the Philippines for the deployment of SAF personnel and their mobility assets,” Eleazar said.
According to the police official, the deployment of the SAF commandos was necessary to ensure that no one goes out of their homes amid the lockdown.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier called out Cebuanos for allegedly disregarding the national government’s warnings against the virus, with many people still seen riding their motorcycles on the streets, based on reports.
He sent Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu to assess the COVID-19 response there.
Cebu City is the only city to revert to the ECQ starting June 15, following what authorities said was an increase in COVID-19 cases there.
“SAF commandos are known to be strict in enforcing the quarantine rules which subsequently compelled hardheaded residents to stay in their houses,” Eleazar said.
He said three senior officers from the PNP Directorate for Integrated Police Operations-Visayas and PNP Directorate for Operations would be sent to the city too l to facilitate the coordination among the policemen, JTF COVID Shield and the PNP leadership.
The SAF commandos are apart from the soldiers already deployed to the city and nearby areas.
Eleazar said the military’s Central Command, under Lieutenant General Roberto Ancan, has vowed to deploy more troops.
“The CentCom is also using their air assets over Cebu City to check on observance of physical distancing,” Eleazar added.