Thursday, June 18, 2020

Army reservists urged to be role models in fight vs. Covid-19

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 18, 2020): Army reservists urged to be role models in fight vs. Covid-19 (By John Rey Saavedra)

ROLE MODEL. An Army reservist checks the temperature of a passerby in a quarantine control point in Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu, in an undated photo. Lt. Col. Rowel Gavilanes, director of the 701st Community Defense Center (CDC) of the Army Reserve Command, on Thursday (June 18, 2020) said reservists in Cebu City where Covid-19 cases are rising can help the city government in enforcing health and safety protocols by monitoring compliance with health and safety protocols in their own community. (Photo courtesy of 1Lt. Ronald Cabiles)

CEBU CITY – An official of the Army Reserve Command on Thursday pressed Cebuano reservists to help the city government in the enforcement of rigid health and safety protocols by becoming role models in their own community in the observance of quarantine measures.

Lt. Col. Rowel Gavilanes, director of the 701st Community Defense Center (CDC) of the Army Reserve Command, said reservists who are residents here may not be called again to man road checkpoints now that the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases has reverted the city to enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) status.

But reservists, he said, are directed to help law enforcement agencies like the Philippine National Police (PNP) and barangay officials in monitoring compliance with safety protocols such as the “stay-at-home order” of Mayor Edgardo Labella, physical distancing, and mandatory wearing of face masks.

Labella issued stricter policies under Executive Order No. 24 which he signed on Tuesday, to arrest the increasing number of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) in the city.

“Even if we are not part of the enforcement team in arresting violators, but as good citizens of this republic, we can do our share by helping our duly-constituted authorities even in monitoring efforts,” Gavilanes told the Philippine News Agency.

He said that reservists can politely ask neighbors to observe the health and safety standards so that Covid-19 transmission can be prevented right in their sitio or barangay.

Before they can ask their neighbors to stay inside their home, maintain social distancing and wear face masks, the reservists can be a model by religiously following those protocols.

“To serve a role model is, I think, the best assistance that we can do in the city. Ipakita nato nga puede ra gyud di ta mo-violate sa (Let’s show to them that it’s good not to violate the) protocols. There's no need to be deployed, just help your community,” Gavilanes said.

The 701st CDC deployed more than 100 officers and enlisted-ranked reservists in the towns of Alegria, San Fernando and Minglanlla in the south, towns of Compostela and the ciy of Lapu-Lapu in the metro and the city of Toledo in the western corridor of Cebu province.

“Prior to the deployment of reservists, our unit conducted seminar and practical exercises to handle critical scenario in relation with the Covid-19 pandemic. So the reservists are equipped with ample knowledge about the virus and the methods to prevent infections as established by the health authorities, especially the WHO (World Health Organization) and the DOH (Department of Health),” he said.

The 701st Cebu Ready Reserve Battalion headed by Lt. Col. Antonio Esmero, a university professor, along with the CDC, coordinated with local government units (LGU) in the deployment of able-bodied reservists.

Esmero said they are also taking precautions in volunteering themselves to serve the front-line to ensure that reservists will not be infected with coronavirus.

The LGUs, he said, provided them with personal protective equipment (PPE) and other paraphernalia for the protection of the organized reservist teams.

Esmero said a team of reservists from his battalion also helped repack family food packs at the Department of Social Welfare and Development in Mandaue City during the province-wide ECQ last April and May.

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