POLICE chief Debold Sinas did not violate health protocols of Calapan City when he visited Oriental Mindoro last week, Mayor Arnan Panaligan said yesterday as he cleared the country’s top police official from charges that he breached the province’s COVID-19 travel regulations.
Sinas went to the headquarters of the MIMAROPA regional police office in the city last Thursday morning. In the afternoon of the same day, he announced he tested positive of the coronavirus. Two days later, the provincial government rebuked the police chief for skipping health screening and profiling requirements.
But Panaligan said, “dumaan naman sa proseso si Gen. Sinas (Gen. Sinas went through the process),” referring to the two requirements the local government unit set for travelers who want to go to the city – online registration and confirmation from the LGU.
“As far as we are concerned, nag on-line registration si Gen. Sinas at nakatanggap siya ng confirmation kasi nga maluwag na ngayon, per IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases) rules (As far as we are concerned, Gen. Sinas made an online registration and he received his confirmation. The IATF has relaxed the rules),” Panaligan said.
And since the IATF has eased inter-province and inter-region travel, Panaligan said Sinas was not mandated to present a result of an RT-PCR test before he is allowed to enter the province.
The PNP has said that Sinas first got tested for COVID-19 on March 9 prior his visit to Calapan City and the result was negative. He had himself tested again on March 11 before flying to Calapan City but this time, for his scheduled visit to Palawan. While already in Calapan, Sinas was supposedly informed that his test result showed he was infected with the virus.
Sinas is currently confined in a quarantine facility inside the Camp Crame while recovering from COVID-19. He has designated PNP deputy chief for administration Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar as the PNP officer-in-charge during his absence.
Panaligan said the city’s health office has already coordinated with the health service unit of the MIMAROPA regional police office for the isolation and quarantine of policemen who were exposed to Sinas.
Eleazar said he was swabbed on Sunday afternoon and his result, which he got Monday morning, showed he was not infected with the coronavirus. After learning the favorable result, Eleazar pushed through with his scheduled press conference in Camp Crame.
“For the information of everybody, I’m one of those who’ve been in close contact with the chief PNP but due to the strict observation of the health safety protocols, I tested negative based on the result of the RT-PCR that was released early this morning,” said Eleazar.
Eleazar urged police personnel to “strictly observe” the minimum health safety standards in in all police camps, police stations and offices to avoid getting infected with the disease.
“It’s really tried and tested for me,” said Eleazar, adding he has not contracted the virus even if he had been exposed to infected people because he always wears a face mask and shield.