Church, PNP and AFP Join Forces for Holy Week Amidst Virus Threat

As part of the preparations for the Holy Week celebrations, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) met with the Archdiocese of Manila last March 3, 2020, at the Arzobispado de Manila in Intramuros.

Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo, who was recently appointed as Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese on February 10, 2020, after the reassignment of former Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle as Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, met with the officials of PNP and AFP.

Church, AFP and PNP officials discuss security plans for Holy Week 2020 at Arzobispado de Manila in Intramuros , on March 3.
Photo by Rian Francis Salamat/RCAM-AOC l View Photogallery

Debold M. Sinas, Regional Director of National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) said that PNP already has a security plan for the forthcoming Holy Week celebration. He said that the policemen are on “red alert” and are “ready to address any concern”.

“Kung walang imminent father, hindi po kami masyado nag-e-engage. We rely on our chief of police, director, to engage with their respective kura paroko. If there are big concerns that we really need to share with sa inyo, one of us general, will talk to you and with some of our concerns…Mahirap po yung alam namin ang nangyayari di namin sasabihin sa inyo,” PMGen Sinas said.

PMGen Sinas also assured Bishop Pabillo that they will directly coordinate with the parish priest of each parish (big or small) in Manila and will assign PNP personnel to look after the situation in the area. They will also deploy security on all streets and highways where the expected bulk of people will pass by to come and visit churches in Manila.

Fr. Jerome Secillano of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines Public Affairs Office who was also present during the visit said that the police presence must be felt by the people even though there is no coordination yet with the parish.

“I think bishop, mas maganda na i-suggest dito na kahit walang coordination sa kura paroko. Because I think it’s going to be difficult also. Mas maganda na as a matter of policy, gawin nalang na may presence talaga na kahit wala pang coordination…especially now that we are approaching Holy Week,” Fr. Secillano said.

“So, we better provide police assistance, police visibility doon sa mga lugar lalung lalo na sa simbahan kasi we’ll never know lalung lalo ngayon medyo volatile ang situation  natin. So, maglagay na po tayo,” he added.

Among the areas of concern discussed during the visit was the plan of action of PNP for CONVID-19. 

Lt. Col. Beverly De Guzman, Medical Officer of PNP Regional Health Service of the NCRPO said that aside from directly coordinating with the Department of Health, they have created a quick response team composed of medical personnel from regional health service and regional crime laboratory group.

PNP, said Lt. Col. De Guzman continues to educate their police personnel on their responses to CONVID-19 cases and inquiries.

“Our regional director does not want our police officers na maglimit nung aming usual na trabaho just because of fear of coronavirus especially so when there are reports from the public na they need to respond to and yet there is an issue na baka coronavirus, like yun pong na-viral po na Chinese looking po na person na nag-collapse sa daan walang nag-assist for the fear of coronavirus,” she said.

With the ongoing education given to PNP personnel, Lt. De Guzman said they should also be equipped with the proper knowledge to protect themselves just in case it turns out to be positive especially if there would be cases of local transmission.

PNP has also established hotlines for Corona Virus responses and presently, they are recalibrating their moves based on the findings and studies that are given by DOH. (Jheng M. Prado/RCAM-AOC)


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