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COVID-19 WATCH

Lorenzana rallies AFP amid COVID-19 scare

Kristina Maralit

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Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Wednesday rallied the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to continue flexing its muscle in its mission to protect the citizens from two fronts — against the communist movement and the health crisis that is the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

The DND chief’s call came a day after he revealed that his COVID-19 test yielded negative results but will continue to be on self-quarantine until 6 April upon the advice of his doctor.

“I enjoin the whole AFP to focus our efforts in ensuring public health and the safety of our people, providing our medical and health teams, as well as the local government units, with all the assistance we can give,” Lorenzana said in a statement.

The military serves as the augmentation forces to the Philippine National Police (PNP) in manning all quarantine control points (QCP) and enforcing all operational guidelines set by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) while the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) to contain the spread of COVID-19 is in effect.

Lorenzana is currently designated by Malacañang to head the National Task Force COVID-19 tasked to implement all policies laid down by the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID), which is headed by the Department of Health (DoH).

“The challenge posed by COVID19 is indeed a unique one, but together with all the instrumentalities of the government, our bureaus in the One Defense Team and all our other stakeholders, I firmly believe we can rise once again to the occasion,” said Lorenzana.

But while the AFP is fighting alongside health workers to defeat the dreaded disease, Lorenzana also reminded soldiers to not forget their sworn duty of protecting the state from security threats particularly the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA).

This, as both the national government and the Reds issued a unilateral ceasefire call as the country was placed under a state of national health emergency.

Lorenzana previously slammed the communist rebels for “taking advantage of the nationwide state of calamity to advance their selfish cause” following the recent encounter between government forces and the NPA in Rodriguez, Rizal last week.

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