THE Philippine National Police (PNP) on Saturday recorded its 68th COVID-19 fatality: a Police Master Sergeant from the Police Regional Office (PRO) 10 in Northern Mindanao.
The 55-year-old male Police Non-Commissioned Officer assigned at the PRO10 Regional Headquarters Support Unit passed away last May 26 although his death was only reported on Friday, said the PNP Health Service (HS).
As of Saturday, there are already a total of 24,691 police personnel who have contracted the dreaded virus since March last year although 22,890 of them have already fully recovered from the disease and are now back in full duty status.
Another 104 new recoveries were reported by the PNP-HS headed by Brigadier General Luisito P. Magnaye on Saturday. The PNP-HS is also monitoring a total of 1,733 ‘active cases’ as of press time even as it reported 203 new cases.
Only 15,762 PNP personnel vaccinated so far.
As of Saturday, the number of PNP uniformed and non-uniformed personnel who have already gotten the jab was pegged at 15,762, or roughly 8 percent of the 210,000-strong police force.
This is because majority of the members of the PNP who have been serving as ‘front-liners’ in the government’s effort to control the further spread of the killer virus were not considered as priorities in the vaccination program.
With the initial limited supply, frontline health workers and uniformed personnel were prioritized since they have higher risk of exposure while on duty and to allow them to continue fulfilling their duties in both the public and private sectors.
However, it doesn’t mean that all members of the police force would automatically get the vaccine. To date, only members of the PNP medical staff, those with comorbidities and senior citizens from the Non-Uniformed Personnel (NUP) rank have been inoculated.
PNP chief, General Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar said they are fully complying with the directive from the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Department of the Interior and Local Government when it comes to getting the vaccine.
The PNP chief said that even him has not gotten the jab. “All of my eight siblings and their spouses have already been vaccinated except me, the Chief PNP,” he told the Journal Group on Friday.
To date, a total of 14,728 police personnel and 1,034 NUPs have been vaccinated. At the PNP National Headquarters in Camp Crame alone, only a total of 2,060 PNP uniformed personnel and 351 NUPs have been inoculated.
At the National Capital Region Police Office, 7,023 uniformed personnel and 244 NUPs have gotten the jab already. The rest are as follows: PRO1 (300 uniformed personnel); PRO2 (650/24); PRO3 (1,182/95); PRO4-A (977/75); PRO4-B (110/4); PRO5 (387/16);
PRO6 (291/22); PRO7 (704/54); PRO8 (82/6); PRO9 (220/12); PRO10 (19/2); PRO11 (82/91); PRO12 (61/1); PRO13 (148/19); Cordillera PRO (272/13); and Bangsamoro Administrative Region PRO (160/6).
More than 50,000 police and fire personnel will be deployed in various parts of the country this month to provide security and support to the national vaccine rollout which is set to begin economic frontline workers.
The presence of the PNP and fire personnel will ensure the smooth rollout of some 16 million vaccines that are poised to arrive in the Philippines in June and July.
Since the government’s COVID-19 immunization drive began in March, only people categorized under the A1 to A3 priority groups were eligible for the vaccine. They include health frontline workers, mayors and governors, senior citizens, and persons with comorbidities.
This month, mass vaccinations for economic frontline workers or those under the A4 category will begin, but the national government narrowed down the initial priority list to those who work outside their residences or are government workers including members of the police force.
The A4 vaccinations will also start in Metro Manila, Bulacan, Pampanga, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Metro Cebu, and Metro Davao, collectively known as “NCR Plus 8.”