Region 12 deploys 200 cops to shut down its borders

KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews / 22 March) — Around 200 police personnel were deployed Sunday as Region 12 or Soccsksargen prepares to implement a total lockdown beginning 12:01 a.m. on Monday, March 23,  to prevent the dreaded COVID-19 from spreading in the area, a top police official said.

Brigadier General Alfred Corpus, Police Regional Office-12 director, said the establishment of the border checkpoints, along with the curfew imposition, was part of the measures placing the entire Region 12 under general community quarantine.

“Our work is simple—to ensure that nobody can enter the region except those who are authorized,” he said.

P/Col Jemuel F Siason, Officer-In-Charge of South Cotabato PPO inspects a checkpoint in Barangay Palian, Tupi in South Cotabato on Saturday, 21 March 2020, as part of the implementation of Executive Order (E.O) 18 signed by Governor Reynaldo S. Tamayo, jr. which placed the entire province of South Cotabato under Enhance Community Quarantine and calibrated lockdown. Photo courtesy of the FB page of PRO12 South Cotabato 1st Provincial Mobile Force Company

The Regional Task Force on COVID-19, which is composed of different government line agencies, will announce when the shutdown will be lifted.

Exempted from the travel entry ban are vehicles carrying food and other essential supplies and those who are involved in rendering medical services, emergency rescue, and public safety and utilities.

Vehicles carrying basic commodities shall be extended unhampered access since their services are essential to public survival, Corpus said.

He reminded police personnel on the frontlines to keep safe by observing proper health protocols such as wearing face masks and regular sanitizing.

During the sendoff ceremony, personal protective equipment and consumption commodities such as rice, medicines and other basic goods for a month-long deployment were provided for the police personnel.

Corpus appealed to the public to cooperate with the measures put in place to fight the spread of coronavirus disease in the region.

Region 12 straddles the provinces of South Cotabato, North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and Sarangani and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong and Kidapawan.

The region shares borders with the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Region 11 (Davao) and Region 10 (Northern Mindanao).

Based on the 5 p.m. March 21 data from the Department of Health-Center For Health Development Soccsksargen (DOH-CHD Soccsksargen), only 179 of the 1,520 persons under monitoring or PUMs in the region have completed their 14-day home quarantine.

The number of persons under investigation or PUIs reached 52. Two died while awaiting laboratory results, 30 confined in hospitals, six discharged and 14 on home quarantine.

The confirmed COVID-19 case at the Cotabato Regional Medical Center in Cotabato City, PH145, remained in stable condition and under strict isolation and infection and control measures, DOH-CHD Soccsksargen said. (Bong S. Sarmiento / MindaNews)