“If we don’t protect ourselves we will be the ones who will get sick and we are posing greater and bigger problems for the communities, so we have to take care of ourselves,” Benguet PPO Director PCol. Elmer Ragay said during the Kapihan sa Benguet forum recently.
Ragay reported that as of August, at least 15 police personnel in Benguet have contracted COVID-19. Six of the personnel are assigned at the Benguet PPO while the nine are assigned at the different units of the PNP and the Police Regional Office – Cordillera.
The six police of the PPO who were in infected with COVID-19 were either asymptomatic or mild cases, and have already recovered from disease.
Ragay explained the police contracted the virus while they were on duty at the Benguet Agri Pinoy Trading Center and the La Trinidad Vegetable Trading Post.
In the past weeks, at least eight PNP applicants also have been confirmed with the COVID-19 and are now confined at the health facilities in the province.
Ragay reiterates his advice to police personnel of Benguet to adhere to the minimum health standards and other protocols. They should also stay healthy and always protect themselves to ensure that they are not affected with the COVID-19 virus while performing duties.
Meanwhile, Ragay said that the while police are faced with a critical role in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and at the same time maintaining the peace and order situation in the different municipalities in the province, the police personnel are still healthy in all aspects.
“The personnel of the Benguet PPO are at their best physically, mentally, spiritually and mentally despite faced with the COVID-19 pandemic and their roles as peace keepers in the community,” he said.
Since the start of the state of health emergency in March, police personnel have been doubling their tasks and they have been performing multiple functions as police officers as frontliners in these pandemic and as law enforcers who protect lives and properties of the people.
“At least 60 to 70 percent of resources and personnel, manpower, vehicle and other logistics are dedicated to this pandemic, and we have been doing a juggling act since March,” he added.
To ensure that Benguet police officers maintain health and wellness in every aspect, Ragay said that he personally conducts regular communication thru phone and on line platforms to the different chief of police and their personnel in the 13 municipal police stations to continue to check on the situation of the personnel and at the same time remind them of their need to protect themselves during this COVID-19 pandemic.
Since March, Ragay and the officers of the Benguet PPO visited the 13 municipal police stations in the province twice to personally check on the situation of the police officers on the ground.
The regular conduct of Police Information and Continuing Education to police officers on the ground is also a way to remind the police of their safety during their duties and operations during the COVID-19.
A regular spiritual and moral recovery program is also being held in the different stations and units in Benguet thru the support of religious groups and pastors.
Ragay also thanked the different stakeholders from the local government units, leaders and officials, the leadership of the Police Regional Office – Cordillera, the private sector and community for their support to the Benguet PPO and the municipal polices stations such as personal protective equipment, rice subsidy and other supplies. (JDP/RMC- PIA CAR)
By Redjie Melvic M. Cawis