The Joint Task Force COVID Shield urged the barangay officials to replicate the duty of the policemen in their respective communities in preventing the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) through the active participation of their respective barangay tanods in strictly implementing the community level enforcement of quarantine rules.
Police Lieutenant General Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar, commander of the Joint Task Force COVID Shield, said barangay tanods especially in Metro Manila where the 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew is expected to be implemented, could set up checkpoints within the areas of their barangay and could conduct regular community patrol in order to compel local residents to observe the minimum health safety standards.
“As barangay tanods, you are the designated law enforcers in your respective barangays to maintain peace and order. And in this time of pandemic when the national government needs all the help that it could get, they could expand their mandate to include the enforcement of the quarantine rules,” said Eleazar.
In coordination of the Philippine National Police (PNP) led by Police General Archie Francisco Gamboa, Eleazar said that the anti-COVID activities of the barangay tanods, especially the setting up of checkpoints in the interior roads, could be set up but in coordination with the local police stations through the active role of the Quarantine Rules Supervisors, or the PNP’s COVID Focal Persons in the barangays. Policemen may not be physically present in the barangay checkpoints but the checkpoints must be supervised by members of the local police station.
The JTF COVID Shield earlier tasked all police commanders to designate QRS in more than 42,000 barangays of the country who will enforce the observance of minimum health safety standards at the barangay level.
Secretary of the Interior and Local Government Eduardo Año earlier emphasized the importance of the active participation of the barangays in the fight against the COVID-19, saying that the police and the military personnel are not enough to cover the entire population.
Año said that barangay tanods are a formidable reinforcement of the national government in the implementation of the quarantine rules amid the continuous rise of COVID-19 cases in the country.
Eleazar said that strict enforcement of the quarantine rules are proven to be effective in containing the movement of the people and in compelling the people to observe quarantine rules, citing the areas where soldiers and members of the PNP elite Special Action Force (SAF) was deployed.
But since the PNP and AFP have limited manpower and resources, Eleazar said that the limitation could be well filled-up by the active participation of the barangay tanods and even the Public Order and Safety personnel of the Local Government Units (LGUs).
“The barangay tanods and the Public Order and Safety Personnel can maximize the authority given to them as law enforcers to protect every people in their respective communities. We have seen how COVID-19 cases created fear and impacted on the livelihood and economy of every city and town so this must serve as a challenge for them to protect their own community,” said Eleazar.