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PNP to tighten watch during holiday season

            The Philippine National Police will strictly implement minimum health protocols in public places and other areas of convergence for the holiday season, to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

            PNP spokesperson, Brig. Gen. Ildebrandi Usana, said people would usually visit shopping centers and churches during the season as quarantine restrictions were eased.

            “We really are expecting that there is a rise in public convergence, especially during the Misa de Gallo or Simbang Gabi. But the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases guidelines must be complied with. There is a need for us to communicate time and again with our people for them to avoid crowded areas like churches, malls, and some tiangges or mini markets,” Usana said in a Laging Handa press briefing.

            He added that police officers would have to be more visible in requiring people to observe minimum health protocols.

            Usana said the management of the churches should also ensure that health standards are being followed during their activities this Christmas season.

            For his part, PNP deputy chief for operations, Lt. Gen. Cesar Hawthorne Binag said they support the local government units in the implementation of the measure.

            “Whatever safety and security protocols are being enforced in their areas, the Joint Task Force Covid Shield and the PNP would support them,” he said in a separate TV interview.

            Binag said they were now monitoring the areas of convergence, as physical distancing must be implemented in shopping hubs and markets.

            With more relaxed restrictions in some areas, the number of personnel was doubled to add more visibility. These personnel have two duties, which are the enforcement and information drive, Binag pointed out.

            Earlier, PNP chief, Gen. Debold Sinas, said the number of people attending the Misa De Gallo, including those in Camp Crame, should be controlled.

            Under rules of the IATF-EID, religious gatherings are allowed at 30-percent capacity in areas under the general community quarantine.

            Sinas said the PNP will strictly enforce the “no-caroling” and “no Christmas party” policy to avoid mass gatherings.*PNA

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