OUTGOING Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, General Debold M. Sinas has a big wish for his successor next week: just continue their Kiangan Emergency Treatment Facility (KETF) program which he said will go a very long way in saving more policemen’s lives under the new normal.
“I will ask the next PNP chief to never hesitate in pursuing our KETF program to help our officers and men who may contract the dreaded virus,” said the 25th PNP chief who will be retiring from the force at the age of 56 on May 8 told the Journal Group.
He added that the KETF right now is fully capable of treating patients with mild to moderate COVID-19 cases. It already has a portable digital x-ray, cardiac monitors, a defibrillator and 150 oxygen tanks.
“Ang hindi pa namin kaya ay mag-intubate and perform ng dialysis treatment. But libre na po ang mga pulis natin sa KETF,” he said.
Sinas said that since last year, they have studied cases of police personnel who contracted the virus and who literally had no money when they sought treatment in other private hospitals.
“But here in KETF, we already have a success story, the success story of 26 police personnel na hindi na nadala sa ibang ospital dahil nagamot na agad sila sa Kiangan. Since we have gained confidence in the system, there is a need to further improve and continue the program,” he said.
Sinas said the KETF already has a 28-bed capacity although they want to expand it to at least 50 to take care of their people. The former PNP Provident Office and Dehta Restaurant have been converted into wards for treatment and isolation and the PNP chief said they hope they can get the PSSLAI office at the ground floor of the same building in order to create additional treatment rooms for the police.
“Mahirap kasing magdala ng x-ray machines sa 2nd floor,” he said.
As of yesterday, the PNP already had 52 COVID-19 fatalities including Brigadier Gen. Jonathan P. Ureta, a former director of the PNP EOD/K-9 Group who died last April 9.
Sinas also said they made a startling discovery: that seven out of the 9 PNP personnel who recently passed away due to COVID-19 did not want to be confined in a PNP quarantine facility.
“They engaged in self-medication after having themselves swabbed in local hospitals. Ayaw nila magpa-quarantine sa facilities namin, gusto nila sa local. Pero nung nagka-surge at lumala ang sakit nila, saka nagkumahog na pumunta sa ospital na wala namang mga available rooms para sa kanila,” he said.
He cited the case of a a Non-Uniformed Personnel who was working from home. Already a senior citizen, he said the civilian employee only asked that he be brought to the hospital when his oxygen level went down and he was already having difficulty of breathing.
Two other policemen in Region 3 and another in Region 4-A also indulged in self-medication and wished that they be quarantined in facilities near their homes.
“Yun ang mga experience namin. Instead na maghintay sa ICUs and emergency rooms ng other hospitals, dito na sa amin muna at connected naman kami sa One Hospital system natin. Bago pa ma-transfer ang pasyente, naka-work up na, naka-Remdesivir na, naka-dextrose na,” he said.
Sinas said they are also doing fine when it comes to their waste disposal program. In Camp Crame, he added that the PNP Headquarters Support Service headed by Brig. Gen. Arthur V. Bisnar is now using a compactor and a donated dump truck to collect the camp’s waste materials including the KETF’s COVID-19 waste. Before, Camp Crame relied on local government units to collect their wastes.
“We’re practicing total segregation. Ang basura dito dapat hindi nagkalat. This is also being practiced in the NCRPO headed by Major Gen. Vic Danao, they also have their own dump truck too,” he said.
PNP Director for Logistics, Major Gen. Angelito A. Casimiro said they are planning to give the NCRPO its own compactor too. Sinas also encouraged the rest of the PNP Regional Directors to push for the procurement of their own dump trucks to recover their waste materials.
The PNP chief said that to date, they are continuing their testing of their men. Camp Crame and the Police Regional Office 11 in Davao City and PRO7 in Cebu City already have their respective molecular laboratories.
The labs in Davao and Cebu cities can perform a maximum of 100 tests each day. In Camp Crame, around 450 daily tests are performed for personnel from the NHQ, the NCRPO and Regions 3 and 4-A.
Sinas said a big company in Region 3 has also agreed to shoulder 500 daily tests for personnel of Regions 3, Calabarzon, Ilocos-Pangasinan and Cordillera regions.
“Mas mabilis na monitoring namin, Wag po kayong matakot na mag-patest. Bayaan nating nating tumaas ang statistics because we need to identify and isolate the positive. Wag na po nating hintayin na lumala na ang sakit bago tayo magpa-checkpup,” he told his men.
PNP Deputy Chief for Administration and concurrent commander of the Administrative Support for Joint Task Force COVID-19, Lieutenant Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar said that as yesterday, they have already recorded a total 20,000 PNP personnel who have contracted the virus since March last year.
However, more than 17,000 of them have already fully recovered from the disease and are now back in full duty status.
Eleazar and Sinas have called on their men to continue practicing minimum health protocols and avoid self-medication.
“I am reminding again all our police personnel to be cautious of your health condition and do not self-medicate as it may get worse,” Sinas said in the wake of the sad events in the police force.
Sinas added that more spaces in Camp Crame have been converted into temporary quarantine facilities for treatment of PNP personnel infected with the deadly COVID-19 virus.
The top cop and Eleazar also assured they are fully taking care of their personnel who have contracted the deadly germ.
Sinas explained that the entire compound of the 55-bed capacity Kiangan Billeting and Transient Quarters and their sports facilities have been reconfigured further into quarantine facilities for PNP COVID-19 patients.
The PNP chief said the Kiangan Emergency Treatment Facility is currently the primary quarantine facility in Camp Crame for COVID-19-positive cases.
Recently turned over by the PNP Directorate for Logistics were an additional 57 beds in the same compound covering the Camp Crame Tennis Court and 40 more beds at the Taekwondo gym. They now provide shelter for the asymptomatic patients, including those from the poolside.