SAF troops in Cebu City to return to HQ COVID-free
(Updated, 1:30 p.m.) CEBU CITY, Philippines — The 151 members of the augmented Special Action Force (SAF) of the Philippine National Police (PNP) will be sent back to the headquarters in Camp Crame on Tuesday afternoon, August 11, 2020, after a one-and-a-half month stint to help combat the spread of COVID-19 here.
A send-off ceremony was held at the Barangay Tisa National High School here on Tuesday morning. It was graced by IATF officials Secretary Roy Cimatu and retired General Mel Feleciano, Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella, and Police Regional Office Region 7 director Police Brigadier General Albert Ignatius Ferro.
In his speech, Ferro said that the send-off ceremony is also a celebration for having been successful in lowering down the cases of COVID-19 in Cebu City with the help of the SAF troops.
Ferro said that with SAF personnel patrolling around the city, the public was more disciplined in following the minimum health standards.
He said the public being more conscious lately is a product of SAF’s strict implementation of rules.
Aside from this, Ferro said that it was also worth celebrating that within the assignment period of SAF from June 27, not one of the 151 men tested positive for COVID-19.
“As an elite force, they have fought a battle in a different field. Though not one bullet was fired, the danger and the deadliness of the situation is the same. The possibility of being hit was present. Yet they were able to dodge it and came unscathed,” said Ferro.
Ferro said that even when the troops were sent in highly infected areas in the city, they were able to succeed not only with their mission to implement the rules, but also to protect their own health.
Although Ferro originally appealed for the SAF to stay until the end of the month to make sure that there will be no relapse in terms of local forces taking over, he said he understands that the situation in the National Capital Region calls for the immediately return of the elite force.
Meanwhile, Labella, in his speech, also thanked the SAF members for their services.
“The gesture that you have extended to us will never be forgotten by the people of Cebu City for the rest of their lives,” said Labella.
Secretary Cimatu, overseer of the Inter Agency Task Force in Cebu, commended the troops for being COVID-19 free until the end of their augmentation.
He said that keeping themselves healthy in a pandemic is as important as their mission to implement the protocols and help keep the people in the city safe from the virus.
“Tagapagligtas talaga kayo,” said Cimatu. /bmjo
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