Interior Secretary Eduardo Año on Tuesday said he is considering Brig. Gen. Vicente Danao, Jr. to be the next top cop of Metro Manila.

Kapalit ni Sinas: Calabarzon police chief eyed as Metro Manila’s new top cop

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MANILA – Interior Secretary Eduardo Año on Tuesday said he is considering Brig. Gen. Vicente Danao Jr. to be the next top cop of Metro Manila.

“Ang NCRPO (National Capital Region Police Office) ay idi-deliberate pa pero ang nire-recomend na papalit kay Gen. (Debold) Sinas ay si Brig. Gen. Vic Danao na manggagaling sa Region 4-A. Yes, matutuloy na yan (We have yet to deliberate on who is heading to NCRPO but it was recommended that the replacement of Gen. Debold Sinas is Brig. Gen. Vic Danao who comes from Region 4-A. Yes, that would push through),” Año said in a radio interview.

This came as President Rodrigo Duterte appointed Sinas as the new Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, replacing Gen. Camilo Cascolan.

Danao is currently the chief of the Police Regional Office (PRO) 4-A (Calabarzon) and served as a former director of the Manila Police District.

Meanwhile, Año also said the marching order of President Rodrigo Duterte to Sinas is to further intensify the crackdown on illegal drugs, criminality, insurgency, and terrorism.

“Yan ‘yung tagubilin ng ating Pangulo. Natapos ‘yung aming command conference ay natapos at 1 a.m. at dalawa ang pinagdiinan ng ating Pangulo. Itong laban sa illegal na droga at laban sa CPP-NPA-NDF (Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front of the Philippines). Pinagdiinan talaga ng Pangulo yan (That is the order from the President. Our command conference ended at 1 a.m. and the President insisted on two things: the fight against illegal drugs and the fight against the CPP-NPA-NDF. The President emphasized that) and I would expect General Sinas to serve no less),” he said.

Año said he also expects Sinas to set the standard in terms of performance, professionalism, and discipline among police officers.

“There must be no room for scalawags,” he added.

He, meanwhile, added the case against Sinas and several other officers of the NCRPO over his mañanita birthday celebration in May has no implication on his appointment.

“Wala naman siguro kasi separate naman yun. Ang kaso naman ay naisampa at ito ay under preliminary investigation so hindi pa ito umabot sa korte kaya hindi pa masasabi na ito ay isang pending case. Ito ay isang violation sa Bayanihan to Heal as One Act at saka violation ng ordinansa ng (I don’t think so because it is a separate matter. The case has been filed and is now under preliminary investigation so it has yet to reach the court so we cannot really say it is a pending case. This is a violation sa Bayanihan to Heal as One Act and a violation of an ordinance of) Taguig,” he said.

He added that the President has the absolute discretion and authority to choose the next PNP chief.

“Hindi niya kailangan mag-explain. Kapag sinabi niya (He doesn’t need to explain. If he says), my trust and confidence are with this person, let’s give that person a chance,” he added.

Sinas and 18 other police officers face criminal charges before the Taguig prosecutor’s office for violating City Ordinance No. 12 of Taguig City, which requires the wearing of masks in public, and Republic Act 11332, or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act.

Duterte earlier vouched for Sinas saying if he knew about the plan, he will immediately call it off.

Sinas, who hails from Butuan City, is an alumnus of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Hinirang Class of 1987.

Before his appointment as Metro Manila police chief in October 2019, he also served as director of the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO 7), deputy regional director for administration of the PRO 12 (Soccsksargen), and director of the PNP Crime Laboratory.

He will serve as the head of the police force until May 2021. (PNA)

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Alert for arrival! Sinas: PNP ready to transport COVID-19 vaccines

The Philippine National Police (PNP) said all systems are in place to secure the speedy transport of the first batch of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccines from China’s Sinovac Biotech that will arrive in the country on Feb. 28.

“PNP units are fully prepared to perform their assigned duties under the task organization of PNP Vaccination Plan ‘Caduceus’ which is the strategic plan that will operationalize all security and public safety operations for the vaccine roll-out in the coming weeks and months, following the arrival of the vaccine shipments from abroad,” said chief, Gen. Debold Sinas, in a statement on Saturday night.

He said the PNP Vaccination Plan ‘Caduceus’ sets forth the security and public safety guidelines and procedures to be undertaken by the police in support to the Philippine National Covid-19 Deployment and Vaccination Plan, as a member of the Task Group Vaccine Cold Chain and Logistics Management, Task Group Immunization Program, and Task Group Demand Generation and Communication.

“We have gone through a series of planning workshops and simulation exercises to ensure organized and orderly transport of the vaccine shipment to the storage facilities and distribution hubs on D-day when the vaccine rollout shall commence,” he said.

The PNP, he said, will be guided by the instructions of health authorities to administer the vaccine to police personnel who have been identified among the priority recipients such as those assigned to frontline medical and health care duties, as well as those who will be fielded to assist Department of Health personnel in administering the vaccine and other police front-liners.

“We are confident that our nation will pull through, bounce back and heal as one. God bless the Philippines,” he added.

On Sunday, President Rodrigo Duterte will lead the turnover ceremony for the arrival of 600,000 doses of Sinovac vaccines donated by the Chinese government.

Earlier on Saturday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque announced that 525,600 AstraZeneca vaccine doses from the COVAX Facility will arrive in the country on March 1. (PNA)

Kung ayaw ni Sara: Panelo floats Bong Go as Duterte’s successor

Senator Christopher Lawrence Go is also qualified to become President Rodrigo Duterte’s successor in 2022, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said Friday.

He made the statement three days after Duterte made a firm stance that his daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara “Inday” Duterte, would not run for president in next year’s elections.

Panelo, who is one of those who initiated the clamor for Sara’s presidency, said Go also has the potential to lead the country.

“Meron na tayong dalawang pinagpipilian kung talagang ayaw ni Mayor Sara, kung hindi na magbago ang isipan niya (At least, we now have two options if Mayor Sara decides not to run and will no longer change her mind),” he said. “Kung hindi tatakbo si Mayor Sara, oh eh di pwede na rin si Senator Bong Go (If Mayor Sara does not run, we can have Senator Bong Go).”

During a situational briefing on the impact of Tropical Storm Auring in Tandag City on Tuesday, Surigao del Sur Governor Alexander Pimentel urged Duterte to convince either Sara or Go to join the 2022 presidential race.

The President, however, was opposed to Pimentel’s call to let his daughter succeed him when he steps down next year.

Panelo said Duterte, during the situational briefing in Tandag City, instead encouraged Go to pursue the presidential bid.

He said Duterte saw potential in Go who served as his long-time aide before getting elected as a senator.

“Mukhang sa pananaw niya, ito naman si Bong Go. Nakita ni Presidente, aba okay ‘to ah (For him, Bong Go should be given the chance. The President believes Go can do the job),” Panelo said.

He also floated the possibility of a Go-Duterte tandem in 2022.

“Kita niyo, Go-Duterte, hindi ba maganda (Go-Duterte is good, isn’t it?),” he said.

Continuing Duterte’s legacy

Panelo said there would be continuity of Duterte’s legacy, in case Go decides to join the 2022 presidential derby.

Like Duterte, he said, Go also shows compassion to Filipinos and exhibits courage.

Panelo, however, acknowledged that Go is not yet ready to take on the presidency.

“Sinasabi niya (Go), gusto ko lang serbisyo. Exactly, kung gusto mo serbisyo, eh ‘di tumakbo kang president, maging president ka. Eh ‘di continue ng service mo at the same time, continuity rin ng legacy ni Presidente (He said he just wants to serve the public. You should run for president and be the president if you want to continue serving the people. At the same time, there would be continuity of the President’s legacy),” he said.

Fight vs. corruption

As the country’s chief executive, Duterte vowed to curb illegal drugs, criminality, and corruption under his watch.

In a public address delivered on Wednesday, the President renewed his vow to fight corruption until the end of his term but admitted that it is impossible to have an “entirely clean” government.

Panelo said Duterte’s successor should have the same resolve to stop corruption in government.

“Corruption remains at talagang kahit pa ‘yung susunod kay Presidente, mahihirapan din (Corruption remains and the President’s successor would also have a difficult time dealing with it). But like the president, he can always, as he did, reduce and minimize corruption,” he said. (PNA)

Kanya-kanyang diskarte LGU! Palace: COVID-19 testing no longer required for travelers

Malacañang on Saturday announced that it is no longer mandatory for travelers to undergo coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) testing and quarantine.

“Travelers shall no longer be required to undergo Covid-19 testing, except if the local government unit (LGU) of destination will make testing as a requirement prior to travel. Testing will be limited to RT-PCR (reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction) test,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a press statement.

However, travelers who exhibit symptoms upon arrival at their destination have to undergo quarantine, Roque said.

This developed after the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) approved on Friday the uniform travel protocols for land, air, and sea that need to be observed by all LGUs, he said.

The approved protocols, Roque said, were crafted by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) in close coordination with the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines, League of Provinces of the Philippines, League of Municipalities of the Philippines, and the League of Cities of the Philippines.

Despite the easing of restrictions for travelers, he said travelers should still follow minimum public health standards.

“Authorities shall continue to strictly implement the minimum public health standards, such as physical distancing, hand hygiene, cough etiquette, and the wearing of face masks and face shields across all settings,” Roque said.

He said the strict implementation of clinical and exposure assessment in all ports of entry and exit still needs to be observed.

The health assessment of passengers, supervised by medical doctors, will be mandatory upon entry into the port or terminal and exit at the point of destination, Roque said.

“On documentary requirements, the travel authority issued by the Joint Task Force Covid Shield and health certificates shall no longer be required,” he said.

However, authorized persons outside of residence (APORs) from national government agencies and their attached agencies must provide their identification card, travel order, and travel itinerary, Roque said.

“They must likewise pass symptom-screening at the ports of entry and exit,” he added.

One-stop shop application

Roque said the Department of Science and Technology’s (DOST) Safe, Swift, and Smart Passage (S-PaSS) Travel Management System will now be institutionalized as the “one-stop shop application or communication” for travelers.

“The StaySafe.ph System shall be utilized as the primary contact tracing system. Other existing contact tracing applications, such as Traze App, must be integrated with the StaySafe.ph System,” he said.

Roque said all ports and terminals must have sufficient isolation facilities.

All ports and terminals, he added, should also have a referral system so symptomatic travelers could be transferred to quarantine facilities, enabling the Bureau of Quarantine for airports or local health officials for LGUs to take over.

Roque said all buses in Metro Manila bound for the provinces are also required to use the Integrated Terminal Exchange as the central hub for transportation.

“At the option of the LGUs, they may provide transportation for all travelers who are transiting from one LGU to another in cases of arrivals at air and seaports to their end-point destinations,” he said.

Roque said the LGUs, DILG, DOST, the departments of health, tourism, and transportation, and the Philippine National Police should ensure the “smooth” implementation of the approved protocols. (PNA)

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