MEMBERS of the Philippine National Police Headquarters Support Service (PNP-HSS) who have risked their lives and limbs while building quarantine facilities in Camp Crame and securing the PNP national headquarters 24/7 have been recommended for special promotion.
The tough task has taken its toll on officers and men of the PNP-HSS, with 277 of them contracting the dreaded COVID-19 virus since March last year, or nearly 29 percent of the total strength of the unit which provides security and safety and general utilities and special services to the PNP.
Since the PNP started a massive program to help the government contain the spread of the killer germ and look after the welfare of its personnel and their families, PNP-HSS personnel have been largely involved in the reconfiguration of the PNP General Hospital’s Extension COVID Ward known as the Kiangan Emergency Treatment Facility (KETF).
Members of the Unit were also involved in the conversion of various Camp Crame income-generating facilities into additional PNP quarantine facilities. These include the PNP Gym Basketball Court with a 96-bed capacity; the PNP Provident Fund and Peace Process and Development Center with a 32-bed capacity; the PNP Taekwondo Gym with a 40-bed capacity; and the former DETAH Restaurant near the Officers’ Swimming Pool with a 20-bed capacity.
These treatment facilities being managed by the PNP Health Service have catered to almost 800 confirmed COVID-19 positive patients in the PNP.
The Journal Group learned that despite the prevailing circumstances and the rise in positive COVID-19 cases in Camp Crame, members of the PNP-HSS continued to do their job and successfully constructed the PNP General Hospital’s Extension COVID Ward while converting the four other income-generating facilities into quarantine facilities in a very short time.
Many success stories have been recorded in these quarantine facilities, with some grave cases being fully monitored and treated by PNP-HS doctors and nurses before being taken to available private hospitals where their condition improved, thanks to initial treatment they received from PNP medical staff.
Last April 14, the PNP-HSS requested for a COVID-19 Special Promotion Quota from the PNP leadership which will benefit 237 of its personnel qualified for regular promotion this year.
Specially being recommended for promotion are PNP-HSS personnel involved in the ‘fatigue duty’ involving the reconfiguration/reconstruction of treatment facilities inside Camp Crame.
These policemen have been cited by PNP chief, General Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar, also a former commander of the Administrative Support for COVID-19 Task Force, for their selfless dedication to duty since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, particularly for risking their lives just to provide COVID-19 positive patients in the force with comfortable and convenient facilities.
As the Journal Group previously reported, members of the PNP-HSS may not be manning Quarantine Control Points or anti-criminality checkpoints in strategic parts of the country to enforce minimum health protocols and help arrest criminality.
However, these HSS personnel have been considered as the real ‘unsung heroes’ in the fight against the dreaded virus as they have literally risked their lives to build quarantine facilities in Camp Crame while ensuring that its occupants and other guests and visitors fully complied with health protocols imposed by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).
The Journal Group learned that since December 10, 2020, members of the PNP-HSS headed by Brigadier General Arthur V. Bisnar have built 350 of the 362 COVID-19 treatment and isolation rooms in Camp Crame. The 12 others at the so-called Dehta Ward were constructed by the PNP Engineering Service headed by Brig. Gen. Abelardo C. Matillano.
The hard work has not spared officers and men of the PNP-HSS from the virus. Since last year, 277 HSS personnel have tested positive for COVID-19 although majority of them have fully recovered and have returned to full duty status.
Only four HSS personnel remain at the KETF as of this writing.
“It really saddens me to see my men catching the virus while doing their work. However, just the mere thought of saving the lives of hundreds, if not thousands of police personnel who were confined in those rooms gives me the sense of purpose, relevance and contentment,” Bisnar, the ‘Baron’ of Philippine Military Academy ‘Bigkis Lahi’ Class of 1990 prevously told the Journal Group.
Bisnar said they have only one purpose when they went to build those facilities: to help their colleagues who have been suffering from much worse conditions.
Apart from building the quarantine facilities, members of the PNP-HSS have fully turned Camp Crame into a ‘zone of discipline’ where they have been fully enforcing the wearing of face masks and face shields and social distancing while strictly implementing all camp rules and regulations and other measures to protect the facility from the virus and other unlawful acts.
To date, there have been more than 25,600 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the PNP since March 2020 although more than 23,800 of them have already fully recovered from the disease and have returned to work.
The PNP has also recorded 70 COVID-19 fatalities since last year. As of last Saturday, the PNP-ASCOTF now chaired by PNP Deputy Chief for Administration, Lieutenant Gen. Joselito M. Vera Cruz has recorded 849 confirmed virus cases in the PNP National Headquarters; 1,421 in the different National Administrative Support Units; 5,214 in the different National Operational Support Units; and 18,169 in the 17 Police Regional Offices.
The following are the other records: Deaths: four in the NHQ; three in the NASUs; 18 in the NOSUs; and 45 in the PROs.
Overall, there have been a total of 25,653 cases in the force since last year although 23,743 of them have fully recovered.
The ASCOTF was monitoring 1,840 ‘active cases’ as of Saturday.
Of the different NASUs, the PNP Health Service headed by Brig. Gen. Luisito P. Magnaye has logged the most number of cases to date with 356 followed by the PNP-HSS with 277 and the PNP Information Technology Management Service with 121. Overall, more than 1,200 NOSU personnel have been afflicted by the virus since March last year.
On the other hand, there were more than 5,200 members of different NOSUs who have gotten the virus, the biggest of them the PNP Special Action Force with 1,123 followed by the PNP Aviation Security Group with 871, the Police Security and Protection Group with 589; and the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group with 360.
Among the 17 Police Regional Offices, the National Capital Region Police Office has the most number of confirmed cases with 5,252 and 16 deaths; followed by the Police Regional Office 4-A in Calabarzon region with 1,644 and 5 fatalities; the PRO3 in Central Luzon with 1,329 cases and five deaths.