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Ferro: Police’s investigative skills also needed in contact tracing

By: Morexette Marie B. Erram - Multimedia Reporter - CDN Digital | July 09,2020 - 02:20 PM
Ferro: Police’s investigative skills also needed in contact tracing

Transfer of COVID-19 patients from Alaska, Mambaling to the isolation center on this May 2020 file photo. | Photo Courtesy of Cebu City PIO

CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO – 7) has vowed to help local officials and health officers in implementing a more effective and efficient contact tracing in Cebu City.

Police Brigadier General Albert Ignatius Ferro, director of PRO-7, told reporters in a teleconference Thursday, July 9, that the knowledge imparted to them by Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong on sweeping the community for possible coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients should be applied.

“Yes, the seminar was effective. And we should apply it because if we will not apply it, we will be facing a difficulty in locating and identifying the affectations of COVID-19,” said Ferro in a mix of Cebuano and English.

PRO – 7 was part of the seminar led by Magalong, a retired Philippine National Police (PNP) general, held last Tuesday, July 7. Aside from police, public officials and health officers from various local governments also joined.

According to Ferro, law enforcers will be ‘actively participating in local governments’ efforts in doing contact tracing by providing investigative skills’ needed to locate possible COVID-19 patients.

“We have been doing contact tracing as we speak… Now, it will be reorganized so that the entire burden will not be loaded on either the police or the health offices. We will be actively helping all our city and municipal health offices to address this problem in an intelligence-driven manner. We should not recklessly dive first,” said Ferro.

“We should know the real story and the real situation because if we will not appreciate the real situation, we cannot stop the rising cases of COVID-19 in Cebu,” he added.

The PRO-7 director also said among the issues raised during their seminar with Magalong was the absence of coordination and protocols needed for contact tracing among law enforcers, local governments, and health officers.

“There were no established protocols. No established doctrinal system on how to do it,” said Ferro.

Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, who was appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte as the overseer of Cebu City’s COVID-19 response, invited Magalong to share the latter’s insights and tips in doing contact tracing in Baguio City, an initiative that was lauded to be effective in containing the spread of COVID-19 there.

This developed after Cimatu earlier noted that the city’s lack of proper strategies in effectively and efficiently implementing contact tracing contributed to the increase in COVID-19 cases here.

Cebu City is the lone area in the country that remained under the strictest form of community quarantine until July 15. /dbs

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